|I – Infrastructure Development
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The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) estimated that the annual wastage of fruit and vegetables in India amounts to Rs 440 billion worth, because the country has failed to create temperature control facilities and adequate storage houses to store the perishable goods.
In a special address at Logistics Conclave 2014 (held in New Delhi and organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Dr Santosh Kumar Sarangi, chairman and secretary, stated that India, in totality, suffered annual losses, amounting to Rs 550 billion, due to inadequate cold storage units and suitable supply chain infrastructure, including inadequate food processing facilities in the agri sector.
“Only two per cent of the fresh fruit and vegetables produced in India, the world’s second-largest producer of the same, are stored in the few available temperature-controlled facilities, against 85 per cent of the leading economies in the world. This is responsible for the whopping annual losses of fruit and vegetables,” said Dr Sarangi.
However, he explained that with the adoption of modern techniques for higher fruit and vegetable yield and their harnessing by the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the last three years, the state has been able to substantially curtail its apple wastage with the help of private and public intervention.
Dinesh Rai, chairman, Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), in his address, informed that the regulator has been advocating for the conferment of infrastructure status on logistics, given its key role in the emerging economy, and the Planning Commission has already endorsed its view on the subject.
The issue, according to him, is progressing favourably with other concerned departments in the government.
Rai added, “The new government is serious about the growth of the logistics sector, which can be gauged from the fact that it allocated Rs 5,000 crore in the Budget for 2014-15.”
“In addition, subsidised loans are also granted for the logistics sector by public sector banks, with the government increasing subsidies for the sector to the extent of 25 per cent on government grants to promote the sector,” he added.
In his welcome address, Alok B Shriram, senior vice-president, PHD Chamber, complemented the WDRA for making efforts for granting infrastructure status to the logistics sector, as with it in place, the industry would be subject to certain entitlements, leading to the betterment of the logistics sector, which has not been given the required attention by the policymakers.
R S Bedi, chairman, Task Force on Logistics Management, PHD Chamber, also suggested that a consensus and integral approach needed to be adopted by the Centre and the states to transform the logistics sector to serve the needs of the modern times to enhance its contributions to the national gross domestic product (GDP).