PM says inadequate infrastructure and taxation major hurdles before food industry

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today said inadequate infrastructure and the taxation structure are major hurdles preventing the growth of the country's food processing industry.

Addressing the first conference of State Food Processing Ministers here, Dr Singh said there should be a coordinated effort by the Centre and state governments to ensure the growth of this sector.

"Though primary agricultural commodities are mostly exempted from taxes, processed foods are subjected to multiple levies. There is an urgent need to rationalise and simplify the tax structure," he added.

He said despite the economic slowdown, the food processing industry in India grew at an impressive rate of 14.7 per cent in 2008-09.

"The level of processing in India is extremely low at around six per cent compared to 60-80 per cent in developed countries and over 30 per cent even in most other Asian and Latin American developing countries. There is clearly very high wastage and very low value addition in our country, with corresponding loss of business opportunities as well as losses in farm income," he added.

Calling for national food processing policy for the rapid growth of the sector, he said, "The policy to be effective will have to be comprehensive and adopt a number of legislative, administrative and promotional measures.

The policy should evolve through discussions with the States and industry both in the public and private sector, he added. (ANI)

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