Rajya Sabha passes bill to declare food tech institutes as national ones

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) The Rajya Sabha on Monday approved a bill that declares two food technology institutes at Kundli in Haryana and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu as national institutes.

The Rajya Sabha passed The National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019 by voice vote.

The Bill declares National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Kundli, and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur as National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management.

Clarifying members' doubts about implementation of reservation policy in these institutions, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said while replying on the Bill in the House that all policies of national importance would be implemented in these institutions and reservation would be applicable in these institutes.

He also assured that all people working in food technology have representation in these institutes.

Besides, he said the Parliament will also have a say in these institutions as there is a provision in this regards in this bill.

Tomar said,'This bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in February, 2019. Thereafter it was referred to the Standing Committee. There were certain amendments there which were approved by the Cabinet. Now it again came for discussion in the House.' He said,'All members gave suggestions and expressed satisfaction on the bill. These are two existing institutions and working in the field of food processing. ' The minister further said,'India is a leading country in farm production for many crops. But we are still facing challenge on the front of storage, cold chain and processing. There is still wastage of farm produce in our country. We need to work in this area (food processing technology).' The minister was of the view that food processing technology can reduce wastage, create jobs and turn framers into entrepreneurs. Besides, it can boost exports of farm produce.

He told the House that under the Kisan SAMPADA Yojana, 107 lakh tonnes of food have been processed and 444 lakh jobs have been created.

As many as 147 lakh farmers were benefited from this scheme, he added.

He was of the view that now the country needs such kind of institutes of food technology in the country to boost food processing, which would be known across the world.

He said,'We want that these institutes should have their own capacity and freedom to take their decision and run its courses. They need autonomy to collaborate with other institution and other nations also. After getting this national -level status, these two institutions would be at par with IIT and IIM.' Participating in the debate on the Bill, L Hanumanthaiah (Congress) said there is need to save foodgrains as currently food worth USD 14 billion is wasted in India.

He said only 10 per cent of food is processed in India now and there is huge opportunity here with 40 per cent of food being wasted while every third child is suffering from malnutrition.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) demanded ensuring reservation policy in institutes on elevation to national importance.

Bhaskar Rao Nekkanti (BJD) stressed on creating avenues for skill development and training for food processing industry.

Ashok Bajpai (BJP) said it will help in uplifting the rural economy while creating employment.

Banda Prakash (TRS) said 1.6 lakh workmen requirement is there in the food sector but skilled people are not available.

Subhash Chandra Bose Pilli (YSRCP) said only two per cent food was processed in India.

Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (SP) said more such institutions should be established.

Board of Governors of these institutions should have farmers' representative, said R C P Singh (JDU). The idea was seconded by RJD's Manoj Jha, who also demanded that such a food technology institute be established in Bihar.

The main grievance is that farmers should be given proper representation to farmers on the Board of Governors, said K R Kumar (TDP).

Fauzia Khan (NCP) said this sector needs a lot of attention and farmers need to be turned into entrepreneurs. She urged the government to strengthen Krishi Vigan Centres.

S K Gupta (AAP) said such institutes should be established in every corner of the country.

He highlighted the issue of farmers' protest against three new farm laws.

He said that government is not giving any heed to farmers sitting on borders of the national capital.

He stressed the need for boosting agro processing industry to improve farmers' income.

Ramji Gautam (BSP) urged the government to provide free education to tribal and under-privileged people in these institutions and demanded that they be given reservation. PTI NAM KKS KKS CK