Human Rights Diary February 2014

BANGALORE: Traders dealing in food who require obtaining a license by February 4 in order to comply with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 are up against the "draconian legislation," said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary Gen­eral, Confederation of All In­dia Traders (CAIT), the apex body representing the inter­ests of retailers.

Speaking to The Hindu be­fore addressing traders gath­ered under the auspices of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), Mr. Khandelwal said: "The dead­line for mandatory licenses for those retailing food is likely to be extended by an­other year, just as it was in the last two years."

Mr. Khandelwal said the CAIT leadership, during its recent meeting with the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, had been assured them of a "favourable re­sponse."

He said Union Minister for Communications and IT Ka­pil Sibal, whom he met on Friday, had assured them of a "favourable review" of the implementation of the legis­lation. "The legislation is not merely impractical but also sinister," Mr. Khandelwal said.

He alleged that the provi­sions are geared to "wipe out" Indian competition to multinationals operating in the food business. "We have urged the government to re­view the legislation and spend the next year consult­ing all stakeholders so that we are left with a people ­friendly legislation."

Even nodal agencies under government control, such as the Food Corporation of In­dia and the Central Ware­housing Corporation, are not yet compliant with the legis­lation, he observed. "At this rate, even the Karnataka Chief Minister's pet scheme, the Anna Bhagya, runs the 'risk of getting derailed," he remarked

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