by Mr. Arvind Varma
Secretary General - IBA

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me extend to all of you, on behalf of the Indian Beverage Association, a warm welcome to this Conclave. We regard this as an extremely important event where a wide range of players of the beverage industry have got together to focus their attention on this industry. As a matter of fact, the setting up of the Indian Beverage Association was itself a step to focus attention on the Indian beverage industry with a view to serving the interests of the industry so that it can play its part in the service of the consumer. As you would appreciate, until the IBA came into existence, there was no industry body devoted to the purposes and interests of this industry. Thus, the setting up of IBA was the fulfillment of a long-felt need and has contributed to filling up the vacuum that existed.

In point of fact, the Association was established on January 14, 2010 and registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 with the Registrar of Societies of the Government of NCT of Delhi. It was formed by the joint efforts of nine subscriber members, these being Bengal Beverages Ltd., Coca-Cola India, Dabur India Ltd., Indian Soft Drinks Manufacturers Association, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Pearl Drinks Ltd., Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd., Red Bull India Pvt. Ltd. and Tetra Pak India Pvt. Ltd. The IBA family has since grown to include Bericap India Private Limited, Britannia Dairy Private Limited, Danone Narang Beverages Private Limited, FieldFresh Foods Private Limited and Cadbury India Limited. We feel enriched by the coming into IBA of these prominent entities.

The office of the Indian Beverage Association is located in New Delhi in the well-known PHD House, the premises owned by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry near the Asian Games Village on August Kranti Marg.

I do not wish to propound on the role of beverage associations such as IBA because we are due to listen to very competent presentations on this subject by eminent personalities later this afternoon. Nevertheless, it needs to be said that one of the key objectives of the establishment of the Indian Beverage Association was for this body to serve as single point of contact with the Government of India, with regulatory agencies like the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Bureau of Indian Standards, apart from the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, including the relevant regulatory and promotional agencies under the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. We in IBA will be happy to play such a role in an increasingly effective and efficient manner in times to come.

I may add that in the course of its short life, the IBA has interacted suitably with FSSAI in areas like setting of standards, comments on the Draft of the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2010 and on the issue of labelling requirements pertaining to Returnable Glass Bottles. Besides, Pre-Budget Memoranda have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and issues like enhancement of rates of VAT have been taken up with State Governments and the Government of the NCT of Delhi. The success of these endeavours of the Association is for the Members to judge.

Mention needs to be made here of the fact that in 2010 IBA became a member of the International Council of Beverages Associations. This body has its headquarters in Washington DC, USA. The American Beverage Association (whose President is among us this afternoon), the Australian Beverages Council, the Union of European Beverages Associations and the Japan Soft Drink Association are some of the other members of ICBA.

I do not wish to stand further between you and the interesting fare that is listed on the agenda for today and wish to close by saying that we look forward very keenly to more and more Members of this industry joining the Indian Beverage Association.

Thank you.
Arvind Varma
Secretary General, IBA