Finance minister Arun Jaitley doubles allocation to the food processing ministry to Rs1,400 crore for Budget 2018 -19 fiscal and sets up institutions to finance agro-processing projects.
To ensure better returns to farmers, the government doubled budget allocation to the food processing ministry to Rs1,400 crore for 2018-19 fiscal and set up institutions to finance agro-processing projects.
To encourage each district to focus on the cultivation of specific crops, the government will re-orient current schemes and promote cluster-based development of agri-commodities.
To protect the domestic industry, the government has 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 soy protein) from 30% to 50%. To help the cashew processing industry, it has proposed to cut customs duty on raw cashew from 5% to 2.5%.
Presenting a pro-farmer budget for 2018-19 fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the food processing sector is growing at an average rate of 8% per annum. “The allocation of the ministry of food processing is being doubled from Rs715 crore for the 2017-18 to Rs1,400 crore in 2018-19.
Out of the total funds allocated for the ministry for the next fiscal, Rs1,313.08 crore will be for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY), which is higher than Rs633.84 allocated for the current financial year.
Under the scheme, the funds are given as grant-in-aid for setting up of mega food parks, development of infrastructure for agro-processing clusters, integrated cold chain and value addition infrastructure, the creation of backward and forward linkages among others.
About Rs61.20 crore has been earmarked for Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) for the next fiscal. To facilitate financing for specialised agro-processing projects, Jaitley announced setting up of ‘specialised agro-processing financial institutions’ in this sector.
To check volatility in prices of basic veggies like onion and tomato, the minister proposed the launch of ‘Operation Greens’ along the lines of ‘Operation Flood’ that helped increase milk output in the country. He said Rs500 crore has been allocated for the ‘Operation Greens’ to promote.