Punjab which has served as the food bowl of the nation for decades is all set to becoming a food processing hub of the country. Yes, the Capt Amarinder Singh Government is going all out to make the state a favorite destination for the food processing industry and a global leader in export of value-added Agri-produce.The food-processing mantra has got accolades from the World Bank which has given the best ratings to Punjab for doing business. Armed with its Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017, the state has put its best foot forward providing a favourable environment for industry and business in the state, with trade icons eager to invest in the food processing sector.Taking a major stride in this direction Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora announced that three mega food parks were being set up in Ludhiana, Phagwara and Fazilka under the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor. Also on the anvil , are a high-tech manufacturing cluster at Ludhiana and an integrated manufacturing cluster at Rajpura.The minister was in Ludhiana to inaugurate the first of its kind Punjab Agri and Food Conclave held in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).He said in the last few months, 150 renowned business houses, including ITC, Pepsi, Mahindra, Godrej, Cargill, Nerolac, Reliance, had invested Rs 7000 crore in Punjab in the agro and food processing sector.The minister claimed for more development of food processing sector in Punjab, the government has provided several benefits for such industries in its new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017.
Giving details of the ease of doing business under the new policy, he said anyone could avail loans amounting to Rs 5 lakh to 25 lakh offered by banks for starting their businesses and if they face any issue, they can lodge a complaint with the department and action would be taken accordingly.He also appealed to the established business houses to come forward to uplift the living standards of the poor people under CSR activity.Industry and Commerce Department's principal secretary Rakesh Kumar Verma and director DPS Kharbanda spoke elaborately about the new industrial policy of the government.On the occasion, 25 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with various entrepreneurs worth Rs 70 crore were signed in the presence of Industry and Commerce minister Sunder Sham Arora.An MoU was also signed between the government and the PAU during this conclave in which the PAU will transfer the techniques to the food industry for the growth of the food processing sector. The PAU will offer 50 percent rate discount on its existing facilities for the food industry.PAU Vice-Chancellor BS Dhillon, well-known businessmen Bhavdeep Sardana from Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited, Sanjay Singhal from ITC Limited, Akshay Bector from Cremica Food Industries Limited, Rinkesh Satija from PepsiCo India and Dr Sandeep Kapur from School of Business Studies, PAU also addressed the gathering in the conclave. Punjab Agro MD and Secretary Agriculture Vikas Garg was also present in this conclave.Representatives from various food processing industries including NABI, Verka Ludhiana Dairy, Markfed, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Punjab Agro Juices limited and others also exhibited their products and the minister personally visited all the stalls.