FSSAI Relaxes Rules For Women in the Food Industry

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced a new provision in the food safety compliance system (FoSCoS) portal to encourage women and transgender individuals to become food business operators (FBOs). Under this provision, they will be recognized as persons of a ‘special category,’ which will lead to faster processing of licenses.

The primary aim of this initiative is to bridge the gender gap and promote equal opportunities in the food business sector. The new provision enables licensing and registering authorities to process special category applications in a 1:1 ratio with regular applications. To identify special category entrepreneurs, the Aadhaar card or Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be used.

The FSSAI has provided a user manual to its top officials in States and Union Territories (UTs), as well as relevant officials in State and UT authorities, FBO associations, and other stakeholders.

The government is committed to promoting inclusivity in the rapidly expanding food business market, which is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.19% from $41.1 billion in 2022 to $79.65 billion by 2028. This move comes as the industry aims to recover from the job losses experienced during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and is expected to provide employment to one crore people by 2025.

FBOs have often found the licensing process to be lengthy and cumbersome. The introduction of this new provision by FSSAI aims to simplify the process, encouraging more women and transgender individuals to enter the food business sector. Additionally, it is expected to contribute to the formalization of the industry, aligning with the government’s goal to formalize a significant portion of the unorganized segment within the restaurant and food service market. The Ministry of Food Processing Industry (MoFPI) has also launched the Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro food processing Enterprises Scheme to further this objective under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

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