New Delhi: The government on Friday proposed National Mission on Food Processing in cooperation with state governments during next fiscal to provide much needed thrust to the sector.
    
India lags the world in the food processing sector, as a result of which of fruits and vegetables worth nearly Rs 44,000 crore are lost annually due to lack of proper infrastructure and facilities.
    
"In order to have a better outreach and to provide more flexibility to suit local needs, it has been decided that a new centrally sponsored scheme titled 'National Mission on Food Processing' would be started, in cooperation with the State Governments in 2012-13," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his Budget 2012-13 proposals.
    
The food processing sector has been growing at over 8 percent average in the past 5 years.
    
Budgetary allocation for the sector has been fixed at Rs 660 crore for the fiscal, up from Rs 600 crore in 2011-12. Under the mission, the state governments will set up food processing units on a large scale, while the centre will provide them technological and logistical support, Rakesh Kacker, Secretary, Food Processing Industries said.
    
The centre will provide assistance to the states for technological upgradation, skill development, promotional activities and setting up of non-horticultural cold storages, the Secretary added.
    
He said draft of the scheme has been approved and actual work on it would start from July-August.

(Agencies)