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Minister for zero duty VAT on perishable items

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The Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, with Mr M.K. Sanghi, President, Assocham, at a conference on `Emerging opportunities in processed food sector & role of integrated food law' in the Capital on Wednesday. — Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , Sept. 28

IN order to give greater thrust to food processing and agri-business, the Ministry of Food Processing is finalising a Cabinet note, which aims at reducing the excise and other domestic levies below four per cent in these sectors, said Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister for Food Processing Industries.

While speaking at a conference on `Emerging opportunities in processed food sector and role of integrated food law' organised by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) on Wednesday, Mr Sahai said, "In addition, the Ministry has been negotiating very hard with all State Chief Ministers and the Empowered Committee on value added tax (VAT) so that zero per cent VAT is imposed on perishable food items and not beyond four per cent application of VAT is levied on non-perishable food items."

The Minister said that the Government would shortly constitute a committee comprising industry bodies, in which, major players in the food processing industry would be drawn to deliberate on the integrated food package, before it is presented to the Cabinet. He announced that the new integrated food law will be implemented before March next year, as the Bill will be passed in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.

Mr Sahai added that the Government would consider to interact with industry bodies for a detailed study, on how the food taste of the people will undergo a change in the future, so that industry gears itself up to make processed food items as per future consumer requirements.

In his address, the Assocham President, Mr Mahendra K. Sanghi, said that turnover of total food market in the country is approximately Rs 2,50,000 crore, out of which value-added food products comprise Rs 80,000 crore. He, therefore, called for bringing in technologies so that a large chunk of the estimated food market is processed to bring in revenue for the Government, industry and all the concerned stakeholders.

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