| Former chief minister Nitish Kumar at the inauguration of a food processing unit in Hajipur last year |
Promising an early bird advantage to investors in the food processing industry, the state government on Wednesday invited entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in Bihar.
In an investors’ meet in New Delhi, the state offered investors 35 per cent subsidy for setting up food processing business and complete exemption on stamp duty for purchasing land for such industries. More than 70 delegates of the food processing industry, including leading players Cargill, Reliance Dairy, Mother Dairy and Metro Cash & Carry, took part in the event.
Industries minister Bhim Singh claimed that Bihar got nearly 60 per cent of the proposed investment in the food processing sector. The state would offer 40 per cent subsidy to women entrepreneurs for investments in the food processing industry.
“If a woman sets up a food processing unit, she will get 40 per cent subsidy on capital investment. It has to be ensured that the project is registered in her name,” he added.
“So far, we have seen an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore in the past three years. Total 159 units have been set up. About 140 more units in the pipeline would bring an investment of Rs 3,000 crore. It is a significant achievement, but we are hungry for more,” said Naveen Verma, the principal secretary of industries.
Verma stressed that three new schemes favouring entrepreneurs in the sector was launched about a month back and pointed out that the country’s first jute park, coming up in Purnea district, holds a lot of investment opportunities.
Subhash Kumar Patwari, the vice-president of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the state government was already providing 35 per cent subsidy to food processing industries. “It isn’t a new decision. In addition, the stamp duty issue is also in place. However, there could be investors outside the state who might be unaware of these exemptions and the information will definitely encourage them to set up food processing units in Bihar. The investors’ meet in other states is a welcome step and the food processing industry is a flourishing sector in the state at present.”
Land remained a spanner in industrialisation of Bihar as the state government suggested that the investors would have to buy land directly from farmers and it would help them with administrative procedures.
According to officials, the availability of land has been an issue in some cases as Bihar’s share of land reduced substantially in comparison to its population after the formation of Jharkhand.