Cabinet Minister of Industries, (Maharashtra) Subhash Desai was the chief guest of seventh edition of Indian Ice-cream Congress & Expo (IICE). He is a man who believes in supporting & nurturing the growth of the country. The organizing team and IICMA were glad that the Minister graced this occasion and extend gratitude for his presence at India’s biggest and unique ice-cream event. Below are excerpts from tete-e-tete with the chief guest that took place on 15th September, 2017 at NESCO, Mumbai.
- Q) What are your comments on this magnificent ice cream event?
I am very glad to be present here as I have inaugurated this wonderful ice cream event wherein so many ice cream manufacturers and allied players have participated. I am also excited to see several latest developments and products on display at this exhibition and happy to meet the exhibitors as well. Ice-cream is perceived to be a small industry but it has got great scope, consumption rate of ice-cream in India is very low at present but can potentially grow to a great level. As compared to other countries like China, Europe, US, the consumption pattern in India is low and hence it’s a huge challenge for the country to increase this rate.
There are certain issues that the industry faces like continuous electric supply, GST tax bracket. With continuous persuasion by the IICMA members, hopefully these issues should be resolved in time to come. I wish them grand success in all their endeavors.
- Q) What are your views on GST? How can the industry & government come together and solve the issue?
Ice cream product is fixed at 18 per cent GST tax slab and it is surprising to notice that other sweets are placed at 5 per cent. Why has this not been placed in the same slab as nutritional value and quality of ice-creams is great. Ice cream products should be promoted as much as it can, and it must reach every nook & corner of the country be it village, town, city. Now there is awareness about it and slowly the per capita income is also rising. India is growing as far as economy is concerned so the fruits of this development will reach out to every industry.
- Q) What efforts is the Maharashtra government taking to support the ice cream industry?
Medium and small enterprises need support from government that will enhance development of this industry. Maharashtra government has reserved 20 per cent plots in every industrial area for small and medium business class; hence ice-cream manufacturers can make use of this opportunity. We are here to support and encourage players by providing incentives that will give right impetus to ice-cream industry. Investment can be refunded through GST returns.
Hence I welcome all industry members to cooperate with the government, come together to work for ice-cream industry. I will put forth this to GST Council wherein the tax slab will be brought down.
- Q) What message do you have for the people, especially small & medium entrepreneurs?
Firstly, they must not consider themselves as small. Everything that is small today has the potential to grow big tomorrow. All the major and big players today had very small & humble beginnings. All the players must feel motivated and put continuous efforts to achieve their goals. Ice cream industry has great scope for growth and I wish great success for all their activities.