‘Food processing victim of ignorance in NE’

Shillong, Sep 24: Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti, Prahlad Singh Patel on Thursday lamented that a lot of people in the Northeast have no idea that those, who belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, can avail 70% subsidy for setting up a food processing unit.
“It seems there is still lack of awareness among the people in the Northeast on the different schemes of Government of India,” the Minister said after inaugurating a two-day North East Summit on Food Processing Opportunities at IIM, Shillong Campus at Umsawli on Friday.
Stating that the information provided by the government on the various programmes is important, he advised people to take advantage of the scheme stating that it can create employment opportunities.
Explaining the scheme, he said, “If people come forward as groups, they will get a subsidy of 35% on a loan taken from a bank to set up such a unit. There will be a capping of 35% or Rs 10 lakh on a loan of Rs 30 lakh.”
Patel said the Ministry felt there was a need to have a conclave for the budding entrepreneurs, experts, technicians or people from the Northeast, interested in food processing industries. He said Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is interested in this sector and has allotted sufficient funds.
Connectivity and coordination with different departments and Ministries is required for the entrepreneurs to flourish, the Minister said as he insisted there should not be any lack of communication between the departments and the stakeholders.
Atul Kulkarni, who is a member of Board of Governors of IIM Shillong, said, “Insufficient institutional support and inadequate R&D are some of the major challenges that the food processing sector in the Northeast is faced with.”
He said it is a good sign to see the competence of entrepreneurs in the region.
During the event, successful entrepreneurs from across the Northeast shared their experiences. The entrepreneurs included wine brewer Tage Rita from Arunachal Pradesh and Shubra Devi, proprietor of Manipur’s Meira Foods.

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