Post-budget 2018 Reaction Ms. Deepti Ahuja, Senior Partner & Vice President, SKP Business Consulting LLP

The government has identified the sectors which have the potential to become global champions. Food processing is one the identified sector. Government has aim to make India a global hub for manufacturing, research and innovation.

To support this aim, the government of India has increased budget allocation from INR 7,150 mn (2017-18) to INR 14,000 mn (2018-19) and have proposed to set up 42 state-of-the-art mega food park facilities.

Out of the total funds allocated for the ministry for the next fiscal, INR 13,131 mn will be for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). Under this scheme, the funds are given as grant-in-aid for development of infrastructure for agro-processing clusters, integrated cold chain, setting mega food parks and value addition infrastructure, creation of backward and forward linkages among others. This will drive the growth of food processing at the rate of 8% p.a. and will be key focus area for government of India.

This increase in budget to the food processing ministry and newly set up institutions to finance agro-processing projects has been welcomed by food processing minister Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted: “Thank you, @arunjaitley Ji, for Doubling the Budget Allocation for Ministry Of Food Processing. This will immensely benefit farmers in availing various food processing related schemes and increasing their income. Will also generate millions of new jobs.

The government has introduced cluster based approach to be adopted for agri-commodities production. This will encourage each district to focus on specific types of crops and will boost productivity of agri-commodities production.

To promote the make in India in cashew processing industry, the finance ministry has proposed to cut customs duty on raw cashew from 5% to 2.5% and has also proposed to hike customs duty on orange fruit juices from 30% to 35%, on other fruit juices and vegetable juices from 30% to 50%, on cranberry juice from 10% to 50% and on miscellaneous food preparations (other than soya protein) from 30% to 50%.

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