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Food safety body sought Rs 5K cr in 12th plan, got Rs 2.35K cr

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is reported to have been allocated Rs 2,350 crore under 12th Five-Year Plan as against Rs 5,000 crore it had sought for the period.

According to official sources, although the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is not fully satisfied with this allocation, it will not raise its demand for an increase immediately.

'FSSAI had originally demanded Rs 5,000 crore, which was later cut to Rs 4,600 crore by the Working Group in its recommendations. Now, it has been further slashed and the government approved only Rs 2,350 crore,' the official said.

The decision about the fund allocation for it in the 12th plan was intimated to FSSAI in January this year, the official said.

'The mid-term review of the plan will most likely happen by the end of next year. If FSSAI finds that this allocation will not be sufficient, then it will surely raise demand for enhancing the amount,' the official said.

When contacted, FSSAI chairperson K Chandramouli said: 'We had asked for Rs 5,000 crore during the 12th Plan. This was sought keeping in mind the huge work to be done during this period.'

FSSAI is a new organisation and the biggest challenge is to evolve standards of food safety and then implement it, he said on the sidelines of a seminar by the Indian Beverage Association here.

The FSSAI was set up in 2008 after the Food Safety & Standards Act was passed in 2006. It became active only after regulations of the Act were notified in 2011.

As per its plan, the FSSAI is working to bring on board about 5.5 crore people, engaged in various food businesses, and register them with the organisation by February 2014. '...The target is to register and issue licences to about 5.5 crore food business operators across India by February 2014,' Chandramouli said.

To check and maintain food standards, the country needs many testing laboratories and FSSAI is in the process of setting up these, Chandramouli said.

'Our aim is to have at least one laboratory in each state initially. Later, we plan it to increase this to at least one lab for every 20 districts in the next five years,' he added.

At present, there are 72 government laboratories, which are to be upgraded during this period. Simultaneously, 33 new such testing centres will also be set up.
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