The government will meet a third (33.33 per cent) of the project cost of setting up food processing units in areas that are difficult to access, subject to a maximum of Rs75 lakh, under the scheme of setting up / modernisation/expansion of food processing industries.
Food processing units in general areas are also eligible for financial assistance in the form of grants-in-aid of 25 per cent of the cost of plant and machinery and technical civil works, subject to a maximum of Rs50 lakh, Subodh Kant Sahai, minister of food processing industries, informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday.
The scheme, however, is project specific and the data on food processing in rural areas of the country, especially in Karnataka, which is not centrally maintained, the minister said.
However, the financial assistance provided to the various units under the scheme in Karnataka during the last three years, ie, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09, is Rs6.14 crore, Rs5.30 crore and Rs6.30 crore, respectively, the minister stated.
He said the ministry of food processing industries has assisted 501 food processing training centres from the eighth plan onwards up to 2008-09 in the country. During the last three years, the ministry of food processing industries has released funds to the tune of Rs2.29 crore to the states, he added.
A total of about 4.32 million workers were employed in the food processing sector in the year 2005-0, the minister stated, adding that around 32.24 lakh of these were employed in the unregistered sector.
The data for the growth rate of the food processing industries during the current year 2009-10 is not available. However, the minister said, food processing industries posted an average growth rate of 14.06 per cent at current prices and 7.2 per cent at 1999-2000 prices, he added.