Even as the agitation of the milk producers of Maharashtra against low prices continue, the Central government has listed out a series of recent measures it claims will help address the milk crisis.
The decision to increase the import duty on milk powder from 30 to 40 per cent, on March 27, 2018, has been cited as one such measure. Maharashtra milk producers are getting Rs 16 to Rs 19 a litre of milk as against an average milk procurement rate of Rs 25 per litre in other milk producing states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The agitating farmers are seeking a milk subsidy of Rs 6 per litre from the government.
In a press release issue today, Union Agriculture ministry said that it has also been requesting various states since December 2017 to take necessary steps to encourage supply of milk and milk products through Mid-day meal scheme and anganwadi under ICDS scheme for nutritional supports to children. It said that states like Karnataka, Bihar and Rajasthan have started supply of milk and milk products to schools under such programmes.
Export incentive under Merchendise Exports from India Scheme was another measure that was highlighted. "Director General of Foreign Trade has decided to provide export incentive for milk powder and Casein at 10 percent in its notification on July 13, 2018. This includes Nepal and Bhutan", the release stated, adding that considering the present scenario, the Department has again requested to increase export incentive for milk and milk products and Casein from 10 per cent to 20 per cent for the benefit of farmers.
Providing working capital fund, under "Support to State Cooperative Dairy Federation" scheme, through a corpus of Rs 300 crore that is kept in perpetuity with NDDB for providing soft loans with simple interest at rate of 5 per cent for working capital, was also highlighted.
India occupies the top spot in milk production in the world and contributes 19 per cent to world milk production.