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    Rule with an iron fist


    Day one saw an insightful debate on the public-private partnership in the India Food Forum, 2010. This topic has been discussed at great length in most of the conferences and seminars elsewhere. However, this discussion was indeed insightful and day two have many more interesting discussions lined up and of course delicious eateries to binge on.

    The panelists Dr. AK Krishna Kumar, COO & Head- Agro and Rural Business,IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Ltd, Ramesh Mittal, Deputy Director, National Institute of Agriculture Marketing(NIAM), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, S Yadav,COO, Premium Farm Fresh Produce and Rajiv Bansal, CEO, Patanjali Herbal Mega Food park Ltd echoed similar views on the strictness of government’s policies and legislations in regards to inviting investments and tenders from the private sector.

    “The government wants to bring agricultural sector within the purview of private sector and aspires to take it to a higher level. The planned outlay for agricultural research and education this year amounts to Rs 1760 crore”, elucidated JS Yadav, COO, Premium Farm Fresh Produce. He further quipped, “The problem is not only with the domestic investments but also with FDI and ECBs.

    Commenting on the mismanagement of government’s policies, Yadav added, “Our system lacks proper classification of the sectors and that is the reason why private investors shy away from partnering with the government.”

    Driving home the point, he reminisced that India ranks second in terms of most preferred investment destination. However, we stand 133rd in terms of obstacles in inviting the foreign investments.

    Echoing a similar view, Dr. Kumar and Mittal said that the infrastructure decision can be taken by the government and the private sector can focus on its specialization. However for better prospects of public and private partnership, there is a need of abolition of excessive licensing system at each level.

    Mittal concluded the session by mentioning that government is being cautious in its approach. He stated that the partnership is indeed a business and not a charity. However, he admitted that the policies need to be simplified and our country needs a separate PPP approach for agriculture.

    — Pragya Gupta