Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union food processing industries minister, launched the Food Processing Edition of the Exclusive Investment Forum by Invest India, the National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency of the Government of India, on 22 June 2020. Badal opined that these challenges lead to opening up of new opportunities such as this exclusive forum which has made it possible for over 180 investors, six state governments and the Central government to be at the same place at the same time.
Invest India has designed this forum of unique sectoral series to conduct detailed conversations between global industry leaders and key decision-makers from the highest levels of the Union & State Governments of India. The forum witnessed participation from the senior-most policymakers from Union Government and six State Governments – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. One hundred eighty companies from 18 countries also participated in the forum.
Union Minister said that due to the Covid pandemic, the sector has seen unique challenges and has played a significant role in ensuring that the lockdown was successful. A few challenges currently being faced are those related to global trade, which has seen a dip along with the dip in domestic demand.
New opportunities opening up in food processing sector
Union Minister further explained all participants about the myriad opportunities available in the Indian food processing sector and informed them that many MoFPI funded projects have recently been getting new orders from new geographies. With the focus on the importance of nutritional food, people know that Indian metabolism has managed to handle Covid-19 better than many other countries. Superfoods in India need to be highlighted in the western world. Additionally, the ready to eat segment is a low hanging fruit where global retailers can look at keeping Indian food in their stores.
She informed the participants about the government’s decision to form Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS)’ and ‘Project Development Cell’ (PDC) in Ministries or Departments for attracting and supporting domestic and foreign investments. Participants were apprised of establishing a dedicated Investment Facilitation Cell of MoFPI at Invest India for handholding both domestic and foreign investors for doing business in India.
Badal concluded by saying that the ministry would support all states to pick up on the ‘go vocal for local’ thought. As companies are moving away from countries they were importing from, it is time that the State and Centre come together in facilitating these companies in structure and efficient manner. Member of states, FPI, Rameswar Teli said that as India reopens for business, the Central and State governments make strong policy decisions to help investors take advantage of growth opportunities in the country. Critical aspects for investment decisions ranging from policy incentives, industrial zones, infrastructure capabilities, to special investor facilitation services were also discussed at the forum to make India the next Global Investment hub.