The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing a scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure with the objective of preventing post-harvest losses of horticultural as well as non-horticultural produce. One of the components of the Cold Chain scheme is the setting up of Irradiation facilities for preservation of the food products including onion, potato etc., Irradiated food is regulated in the country in accordance with the Atomic Energy (Radiation Processing of Food & Allied Products) Rules 2012 and Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
Food can be irradiated only in a food irradiation plant, which is authorised by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and licensed by the competent Government Authority. The license to carry out food irradiation operation is given only after ascertaining the safety and security of the installation, its suitability to ensure proper process control, and availability of licensed operators and qualified staff. Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology (BRIT) is providing consultancy services for establishment of food irradiation plant. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is also regulating the food safety aspects of irradiated food products under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2016 and its Regulations there under.
Under the scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, the Ministry provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid @ 35 percent for general areas and @ 50 percent for North Eastern States, Himalayan States, Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) areas and Islands for storage and transport infrastructure and @ 50 percent and 75 percent respectively for value addition and processing infrastructure subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs 10 crore for setting up integrated cold chain projects including irradiation facility.
The scheme is primarily private sector driven and proposals under this scheme are invited through Expression of Interest (EOI).The entrepreneurs and promoters are free to set up Irradiation facility as per their business model and financial capability throughout the country.
As per revised operational scheme guidelines issued on 29.08.2016 for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure the implementation schedule for setting up the cold chain projects including Irradiation projects is 20 months in general areas and 24 months in North-East States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas and Islands from the date of issue of the sanction to the project.
This information was given by the Minister of Food Processing Industries, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha