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30 food testing laboratories have been established so far with the assistance of Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr Charan Das Mahant in a written reply to Lok Sabha questions on Feb 11, 2014.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is providing Grant-in-aid for setting up/upgradation of Food Testing Laboratories (FTL) with a view to ensure compliance of domestic/international standards on food products. Central/State Government and its organizations/universities (including deemed universities) are eligible for the entire cost of laboratory equipment required for labs and 25% of the cost of technical civil works to house the equipment, furniture and the fixtures associated with the equipment for general areas and 33% for difficult areas (J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, North-Eastern States, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Integrated Tribal Development Projects [ITDP] area).
All other implementing agencies/private sector organizations are eligible for grant-in-aid of 50% of cost of laboratory equipment and 25% of the cost of technical civil works to house the equipment, furniture and fixtures associated with the equipment for general areas and 70% of cost of lab equipment and 33% of technical civil works for difficult areas. The laboratories are encouraged to obtain NABL accreditation under this scheme. The scheme is implemented based on the proposals received for setting up/up-gradation of FTL and also the availability of the funds.
National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) grants accreditation for the competence of the laboratory as per international standard ISO/IEC 17025. The laboratories which are accredited by NABL are having the quality system in place and are competent to carry out the food test under their scope of accreditation. Non-accredited Food Testing Laboratories may or may not be fully equipped to meet the requirements of food testing.
The minister Dr Charan Das Mahant in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Feb 7, 2014 said that as per a study conducted by the National Skill Development Corporation on “Human Resource and Skill requirements in Food Processing Sector”, the annual human resource requirement in Food Processing Industries is estimated at about 5.3 lakh persons including about 1 lakh persons in the organized sector.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing a scheme for Human Resource Development (HRD) in the Food Processing Sector. The HRD Scheme focuses on developing technologists, managers, entrepreneurs and manpower for quality management in food processing. Under the scheme, assistance is provided for creation of infrastructure facilities in academic institutions for degree/ diploma courses in food technology and for setting up of Food Processing Training Centre (FPTC). During the XIIth Five Year Plan, the HRD Scheme has been subsumed under the National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP), for implementation through State/ UT Governments. There are also two academic-cum-research institutions under this Ministry viz. National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) at Kundli, Sonepat, Haryana and the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT) at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, which offer academic programmes at Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. level courses in food processing. The institutes are also conducting short term training courses.