Mumbai, Feb 16: Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail for food products that are grown and processed in India.
According to experts, the move will boost infrastructure and strengthen the local supply chain in the agriculture sector, hence benefiting country's farmers. "I have written to Prime Minister to allow FDI in retail with 100 per cent local sourcing.
The FDI in multi-brand retail for food, which is grown and manufactured in India," Badal told reporters here at the Make in India event today.
She, however, signalled that the government wants all the stakeholders on board before any policy change.
Badal said it would be a major step towards modernising old kirana stores into modern food retail outlets and providing fair remuneration to the farmers. "I believe this can play a catalytic role in setting up the infrastructure right, from the farm level to the fork level. It can actually turn the game around," she said.
Badal said the perception that FDI in multi-brand retail may put an end to "mom-and-pop stores" is not true. "We are in 10 per cent of our potential today. We have 90 per cent to go. I come from Punjab, where Walmart has 20 of its 25 stores. It has not put an end to a single mom-and-pop store," she added.
The ministry is setting up 42 mega food parks, of which two are operational and five are in the pipeline, which will be completed in the next one and a half years. "Of the total 42 mega food parks, 2 are operational, 35 have got final approval and 3 are yet to get approvals. The mega food park has a time-line to become operationalised within 30 months from the date of approval," Badal added.
The government has invested Rs 2,000 crore in the mega food parks and generated Rs 8,000 crore from private sector.
Each mega food park, when completed has the potential to give employment to 6,000, she said adding the sector has huge potential to generate employment not only for skilled people but also for unskilled ones.
The ministry had planned 138 cold-chain of which 73 are already completed, while 65 are in various stages of construction, she said. According to the minister 42 will be completed this year.
"We have asked the Finance Ministry for Rs 100 crore financial assistance to begin plans for new projects on cold chain," she added.