10 May, 2018
Pawan Kumar Agarwal was today given three months extension as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The tenure of Agarwal, a 1985-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, has been given three-month extension beyond May 15, 2018, an order issued by personnel ministry said. He was appointed as the CEO of the FSSAI on 22 December 2015. Previously, Shri. Agarwal was Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India. He is an Electrical Engineer from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. He succeeded Yudhvir Singh Malik, who was shifted as Additional Secretary in Niti Aayog in September 2015.
His achievements on the Chair are numerous. He has withstood many hurdles related to Food Safety and food adulterations. During his tenure, he started ‘Skill India’ programme and the Ministry of Skill Development, and by conducting short training programmes, assessed and certified by both the Skill Development Ministry and the FSSAI and has continuously worked with them.
Shri. Agarwal has worked efficiently within the Eco-system of the country with food businesses, small ones and big multinational companies, and other stakeholders, other ministries of the Central Government and the States governments, consumer organisations and scientific communities.
According to Shri. Agarwal, there still lies a big challenge with India as it has large unorganised sector in the food segment, representing 75 pc of the total. This brings in another set of challenges. The challenge is to educate people of all sectors including street food vendors about hygiene and food practices.
Shri. Agarwal proclaimed that the major challenges for FSSAI are not just to build an internal team, but also a strong team. The food labs have been notified under the category of “Referral Lab Network”. FSSAI has increased the capacity food testing labs. The state labs with poor testing facilities would be ensured with better food safety facilities.
He stated, “We are working with the state labs to improve the quality. We have supported 22 food labs”. Another effort by Shri. Agarwal is the development of FSSAI “Food Testing on wheels” and the concept of “mobile labs”. The concern is not just testing of food, but to spread awareness. To understand the working of test labs, FSSAI supported the Central Food Technological Research Institute asked for equipment to test honey. The focus areas of test labs are the pesticides, aflatoxins, and other adultrants. FSSAI understands the need for analytical testing; “hence a Junior Analyst exam would be conducted to tackle food safety challenges.” Shri Pawan Kumar Agarwal closed the remarks stating that “it is vital to maintaining the relationships using technology and designs outside FSSAI.”
We wish Shri. Pawan Kumar Agarwal the very best for his future endeavours.