Source: Kurukshetra Magazine
It is a component of the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure Scheme under the umbrella Scheme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) launched in 2017.
Need for up-gradation of the Food Testing Laboratories
- Consumer safety and public health: In the interest of consumer safety and public health, there is a need for testing food products in order to ensure that it complies with domestic standards as well as international standards for exports.
- Testing of all imported food products: There is also a need for testing of all imported food products to ensure that they are of the requisite standard and food products not permitted for manufacture domestically are not allowed to come in from foreign markets.
- Adulteration and Pesticide: Apart from this, the level of contaminants, additives, and pesticide residues in food items are required to be monitored regularly
Therefore, a network of food testing and analysis laboratories is required to support the surveillance system of food regulator, timely analysis of samples and ensure compliance of international and domestic standards on food in case of exports as well as imports.
Objectives of the scheme
- To analyze the samples received from processing industry and other stakeholders
- To reduce the time taken for analysis of samples by reducing transportation time of samples
- To ensure compliance of domestic/ international standards on food
- To establish a surveillance system for monitoring the quality and composition of food
Eligible agencies for financial assistance
Under the scheme, Central/ State Government and their organizations/ Government universities (including deemed universities) and all other implementing agencies/private sector organizations/universities (including deemed universities) are eligible to receive financial assistance for setting up of food testing laboratories.
Pattern of Assistance
- Central/State Government and its organizations /universities (including Govt. owned deemed universities) are eligible for a grant-in-aid of the entire cost of laboratory equipment and 25% of the cost of technical civil work to house the equipment and furniture and fixtures associated with the equipment for general areas and 33% for difficult areas. In addition, they are also eligible for 80% of the monthly emoluments of two technical staff for two years from the date of completion of the laboratory.
- All other implementing agencies/private sector organizations/ universities including deemed universities will be eligible for grant-in-aid of 50% of cost of laboratory equipment and 25% of the cost of technical civil work to house the equipment and furniture and fixtures associated with the equipment for general areas and 70% of cost of lab equipment and 33% of technical civil work and furniture and fixtures for difficult areas.