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Investors in the Indian food sector should see the long term benefits: Finance Minister

A dedicated bank for Food Processing sector under consideration: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Friday, November 3, 2017, 20:11 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff |New Delhi

Speaking at World Food India 2017 conference on ‘India- The Preferred Investment Destination’, Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister said that prospective investors in the Indian food and food processing sector should take a long term view of the emerging market potential in India’s food sector, rather than taking a immediate term benefits.

Citing India’s geographical size, size of population, the sub-sect of middle class with seamless purchasing power, and also an aspirational class below that, all will be transforming the demand patterns of Indian consumers in the coming years, Jaitley said. ‘Food processing sector is one area where sea change is expected and that is visible,’ Jaitley said.

Talking about the government’s commitments to support and usher in reforms, the Union Minister said that the government will not shy away from taking even difficult decisions if such decisions lead to larger benefits to the society and the country. He said that the government has formulated a road map to fast track the economic development by investing in infrastructure. 250 highway projects are progressing in the country, 40 new airports are getting constructed, 400 railway stations are getting modernized, the Minister said. All these initiatives, he said will bring lifestyle changes in the country in the coming years, he said.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries while enumerating the efforts which the government has taken to create food processing infrastructure in the country, said that the government is all set to revamp the food economy of the country, and invited global and Indian companies to join hands in that transformation story. She said that a dedicated Bank for Food Processing is also under consideration of the government.

Earlier, in his introductory address, Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO of Invest India, said that out of the total FDI enquiries that the agency has received in the last two years, about 23% are related to food and food processing sector, which is the highest for any sector. Citing the vast demographic and other changes that the country is undergoing, Bagla said that India is the most exciting FDI opportunity in the world today.

Speaking on the ease of doing business in India, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP, Government of India said that while it used to take 16 days to register a new company a year ago, it takes a day now. Time taken for construction related approvals, electricity connections, etc. all have reduced drastically. The decision to rank the States has brought about a mindset change even in States, he said.

 Pieter Boone, COO , Metro AG & CEO, Metro Cash & Carry, Kim Fausing, President & CEO, Danfoss A/S, Sanjiv Mehta, CEO & MD, Hindustan Unilever Limited; Sanjiv Puri, CEO & Executive Director, ITC Limited, Yusuf Ali, CMD, Lulu Group International, and Acharya Balkrishna, MD, Patanjali Ayurved, participated in the panel discussion moderated by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.

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