Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal launched the PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme today as a part of “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”. The minister said that the scheme would generate a total investment of Rs 35,000 crore and generate nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled employment and benefit eight lakh units through access to information, training, better exposure and formalisation. The guidelines of the scheme were released on the occasion.
The scheme will be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore. The expenditure under the scheme would be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with the legislature and 100 per cent by Centre for other UTs, the govt release said.
The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODODP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products. The states would identify food product for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
Existing Individual micro food processing units desirous of upgradation of their unit can avail credit-linked capital subsidy @35 per cent of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs 10 lakh per unit.
Badal further informed that MoFPI is planning to start free on-line skilling classes for SC and ST entrepreneurs, in collaboration with NIFTEM and FICSI, for providing e-learning. Food Industry Capacity and Skill Initiative (FICSI) is a Sector Skill Council for Food Processing Industries supported by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). It’s a non-for-profit organisation established for the upliftment of skill level in the food processing industry. The council develops Occupational Standards, Qualification Packs and competency frameworks to create a pool of certified Trainers and Assessors through Training Programmes. The Council also conducts Skill Gap Studies and also Assess and Certify trainees on the curriculum aligned to National Occupational Standards to ensure that the Food Processing industry can grow with skilled manpower, increase productivity and profitability. Check out our exclusive interview with Sunil Marwah, CEO, FICSI (https://www.foodhospitality.in/latest-updates/sunil-marwah-ficsi-is-working-to-expand-its-activities-into-entrepreneurship-including-home-based-and-women-owned-enterprises/422406/)
MoFPI has identified 41 courses and job roles like baking, making jam, pickles, etc for which access to digital content would be made available. Once certified, these entrepreneurs would have better employment potential, or they can start their own venture. She further informed that the participant handbooks and the facilitator’s guide created by the ministry, through NIFTEM, will be converted into e-learning format with suitable digital content and online assessment service. These will be made available in English, Hindi and other regional languages by FICSI on the web and on android based app on mobiles.
Highlighting the role of local food processing units, the Union Minister said that food products manufactured by the rural entrepreneurs in the villages have a long tradition of supplying Indian food products to the local population. The importance of these local units and their role has been amply emphasised by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation recently.
Speaking about the challenges faced by the food processing sector, Badal said that the unorganised food processing sector faces a number of challenges which limit their performance and their growth. She added that these challenges include lack of access to modern technology and equipment, training, access institutional credit, lack of basic awareness on quality control of products; and lack of branding and marketing skills etc. She shared that owing to these challenges, the unorganised food processing sector contributes much less in terms of value addition and output despite its huge potential.
Union FPI Minister said that the unorganised food processing sector comprising nearly 25 lakh units contributes to 74 per cent of employment in the food processing sector. Nearly 66 per cent of these units are located in rural areas and about 80 per cent of them are family-based enterprises supporting livelihood rural households and minimising their migration to urban areas. These units largely fall within the category of micro enterprises.