Preparing a road map for the food industry
National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) was conceptualised by the Government of India on persistent demand of the food industry to have an apex body as a “One Stop Solution Provider” for the various problems of the sector. Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, set up this institute with an initial investment of Rs 500 crore ($100 million). The institute, which is spread over an area of 100 acres, intends to act as a centre of excellence and an apex world class centre of global standards in the area of food technology and management.
What are the various courses, which are offered in National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM)?
NIFTEM offers a full time programme leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and Management. This programme includes a rare blend of technology and management courses, whereby the goal is to produce graduates who are techno-managers of tomorrow. The course has been started on the demand of industries, so that NIFTEM graduates can handle both the technical and the managerial issues in food industries. NIFTEM offers M.Tech Programmes in five different disciplines; Masters in Food Supply Chain Management is a unique concept of NIFTEM with an idea to generate talented, resourceful and a practical oriented workforce meeting the demands of Indian Industries. M.Tech in Food Safety and Quality Management is the first initiative of its kind by NIFTEM to generate pioneering techno-managers in the field of food safety, food security and quality assurance. Food safety has become a critical factor that needs to be addressed and ensured in global food markets. With India being in an infant era of risk assessment, food biotechnology, microbiological source tracking, public health and food security; this particular programme of NIFTEM focuses on imparting applied knowledge of these fields encompassing food safety laws and regulations on national and global front. M.Tech. in Food Process Engineering and Management aims to produce world class food engineers equipped with all necessary tools to handle the problems of food industry. The programme is designed to promote the growth of the food processing industry in India in the global context by mechanisation and automation, engineering intervention for transforming agriculture into food processing industries and motivating entrepreneurship for promoting food processing sector. M.Tech. in Food Technology and Management aims at promoting innovations in food sector and catalysing the growth of Food Processing Industry in India in global context. Apart from imparting world-class education in the field of food science and technology, the programme also aims encompasses cutting edge research in frontline areas of Food Science and Technology. M.Tech. in Food Plant Operations Management is a unique programme designed to cater the needs of food processing industry. It involves a unique blend of food technology and operations management to foster improvement in production processes of food industry. It deals with the design and management of products, processes and services. We also have Ph.D programmes in our institution.
What are the infrastructural facilities that have been provided to the students by the institute?
Our institute aims to provide the best of facilities to the students. We have made the entire campus a wi-fi zone. To create a comfortable environment, conducive to learning, there are eight 100 seater and nine 25 seater classrooms. All the classrooms and tutorial rooms have been provided with multipurpose podium, projection system, lecture recording and audio system. The aim is to enhance the learning process and help the students in understanding the complex concepts through three-dimensional visualisation. The NIFTEM Knowledge Centre (NKC) came into existence as a constituent of the NIFTEM, Kundli. A multi-level five storey 5474.29 sqmt State-of-the-Art NKC is housed in aesthetically designed boat shaped building amidst the NIFTEM campus. The aim of the NKC is to cater to the needs of the Graduate and Post-Graduate Students, Research scholars and the faculty members of the institute. It also caters to the needs of the research scholars and faculty members through internet by providing information services to all the various stakeholders relating to bibliographic, full text digital and printed resources to support the scholarly and informational needs of the institute. In the immediate vicinity of the NKC, there is a very big cafeteria in the campus, offering variety of hygienic food and beverage items. The institute has a fully equipped auditorium with a seating capacity of 650 and state of the art logistic as well as lights and sound system to support all kinds of programs, conferences. There are separate hostels for boys and girls. Ambience with the right blend of studies and extracurricular activities has been created in the hostels. Living rooms are well furnished and spacious with all the modern amenities. A well designed common room provided with television facility is another feature. A gymnasium has been provided in the hostel to improve physical health and vigour. Staying in the hostel is mandatory for all students. We do realise that the location of campus is such that transportation facilities to and from the campus is a necessity. To cater to the needs of our students, we have a shuttle service plying on from campus to the nearest metro station (Jahangir Puri Metro Station) as well as to the nearest market centre. Ground for outdoor and indoor sports activities like Volley Ball, Basket Ball, Badminton, Table Tennis and Billiards Table with full flood-light arrangements are being planned in the campus. Everything will be ready in very short span so that students can have a holistic personality development. Round the clock medical facility exists within the campus wherein a doctor is available during institute hours and on call. To facilitate prompt action during any medical emergency, dedicated paramedical staff is always present. Also the campus dispensary has been provided with all the essential first aid medicines and an ambulance. A 24 Hour Canteen service has been provided in hostels for students.
This provides hygienically prepared snacks, soft drinks and other eatables to students on payment basis. Apart from the institutional photocopy services, a photocopy and reprographic center caters to frequent photocopy, spiral binding and other related requirements of students. For an integrated township ambience, a separate complex to house amenities like Bank, Post office, General/Departmental Store, Stationery Store, Saloon and Food Court is being planned and will come up in near future. An air conditioned guest house facility for parents and visitors is available. They can avail the facility only on an advance booking with the concerned authorities.
What are the research agendas in National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM)?
The Research Development Council consisting of 54 members drawn from industry, academia and research institutions has been set up to chalk out the future research agenda of NIFTEM. Experts from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)/Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI)/Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering & Technology (CIPHET)/Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL)/Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)/IIT Kharagpur, Harcourt Butler Technological Institute (HBTI), Kanpur have been included in the council. RDC aims at associating the industry with research and its applications in general and academics of NIFTEM faculty & students in particular. The interaction of students with industries and their representatives provides necessary exposure and understanding of existing problems and international challenges of food processing sector in view of globalisation, commercialisation and liberalisation. The RDC provides insights and advice to NIFTEM on the following issues: Lay down a road map of research in NIFTEM for next 10 years and identify particular areas of research with the help of industry; Identify industry problems which need to be taken up as research topics; Identifying collaborators, alternative approaches, and technologies that may improve an investigator’s research; Identifying groups of investigators from public and private sector with common interests in order to develop new collaborative research projects; Facilitating in commercialisation of intellectual property, spin-off companies and technology transfer; Identification of sources of funding for endowed chairs, named professorships, undergraduate scholarships, and graduate student fellowships; Identify funding sources for faculty and encourage them to take up interdisciplinary research initiatives in larger, cross-cutting areas; Propose and/or review major new research initiatives (potentially involving faculty hiring and seed funding). The outcome of these projects has direct bearing on the improvements in food sector as indicated above.
Besides, M.Tech students devote time to prepare status papers on different aspects of food sector, essentially with a view to provide authentic and latest information for use by various stakeholders.
Has NIFTEM initiated any project in line with the Prime Minister’s “Make in India” project? Tell us about the government collaborations with the institute.
Under the “Make in India” Project, NIFTEM proposes to establish National Centre for Indian Traditional Foods at NIFTEM campus to conduct studies on Indian traditional foods to promote globalisation of these foods & capture the world food market. The recipes selected for the Project are (1) Sattu fortified (Bihar, Eastern UP, West Bengal); (2) Khakhra (Gujarat); (3) Puran Poli (Maharashtra); (4) Khandvi (Gujarat) ; (5) Boondi Laddoo (Rajasthan, UP, Bihar) ; (6) Chicken Kabab (Punjab , Himachal) ; (7) Prawn Curry (West Bengal, Odisha , Kerala, Andhra Pradesh) ; (8) Chila (North India); (9) Gustava (Kashmir); (10) Kaju Katli (Pan India); (11) Vada (Karnataka ,Tamil Nadu). NIFTEM has carved out a unique concept of 'Village Adoption Programme' as a project for its students with an aim to sensitise and educate the rural youth at the grassroots level. This would also help the Indian food processing sector in accomplishing all-inclusive growth and integrating the underprivileged sections with the mainstream economy .We started this in 2012 as a compulsory credit course for B.Tech & M.Tech students. Till now we have adopted 39 villages across 19 states in the country. It will be a training centre for the students. The competitiveness of any economy depends on how efficiently all the resources in the process of production are utilised, efficiently marketed and hence the entire chain of production and marketing has to be efficient. Many of the items produced in the small-scale sector are becoming redundant because of the change in tastes, preferences, and also due to emergence of New Technology. Food Processing has an important role to play in linking Indian agriculture to consumers in the domestic and international markets. The agriculture sector in India contributes one fourth of the country’s GDP and provides employment to approximately two third of the population. However, its potential has not been tapped due to under development of the Food Processing Sector.
What is the placement percentage of NIFTEM students after completion of their degrees? And share your words of wisdom to the readers and future applicants.
NIFTEM has successfully achieved 100 per cent placement for its students who have completed their M.Tech degree (Academic year 2012-2014). The students were placed in different companies such as Dabar, lTC, Pepsico, Mohan Meakin, Sector's (Cremica), Aachi Masala and Kohinoor Foods.
NIFTEM would play a pivotal role in developing food standards, quality, accreditation and certification; keeping a repository of international and national standards and also advising the Government on matters related to international food standards.
NIFTEM would be an apex information resource centre on aspects of food processing including information on products, technologies, management practices, food standards, markets etc, NIFTEM would specifically focus on providing comprehensive information to exporters in the food sector. NIFTEM would provide incubator services to enable entrepreneurs to develop sustainable businesses. On the strength of in-depth industry expertise provided by NIFTEM’s resources pool, which can in turn catalyse the growth of the food processing sector by nurturing world-class entrepreneurs.