Maharashtra withdraws subsidy on milk powder exports

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Pune | Published: October 17, 2019 2:43:17 AM

Gokul Milk MD DV Ghanekar said the GR issued by the government was being interpreted wrongly and there was no connection between the two sops. Therefore, the government should not stop this.

milk industry in Maharashtra, mumbai, milk production in india, export subsidies, subsidy on milk powder exports, maharashtraThere are at least 25-30 milk powder processing plants in the state but the sector is dominated by a few players and the rates given to farmers are also decided by these, according to industry people.

Amid the Assembly election fever in Maharashtra, the state government has done away with the subsidy of `50 per kg on export of milk powder.

Under a scheme announced by the state government in July 2018, the government had put a subsidy of `50 per kg for export of milk powder and a subsidy of `5 per litre for farmers.

After there were protests of dairy farmers across the state, the Maharashtra Government had announced in July a subsidy of `5 per litre. Under the plan, the dairies were given a subsidy of `5 per litre so that retail prices of milk were maintained. The scheme was extended regularly till it lapsed on April 30 this year.

According to the GR issued by the government, a subsidy of `50 per kg was announced on the export of milk powder in July 2018. At the same time, the government also announced a subsidy of `5 per litre on the procurement of liquid milk.

Therefore, two subsidies cannot be implemented at the same time, the government said in the circular. There are at least 25-30 milk powder processing plants in the state but the sector is dominated by a few players and the rates given to farmers are also decided by these, according to industry people.

The government, therefore, established a study committee under chief secretary Anoop Kumar and milk commissioner Narendra Poyam, among others. The committee concluded that one subsidy can work at a time and both subsidies cannot be given to the sector simultaneously.

Gokul Milk MD DV Ghanekar said the GR issued by the government was being interpreted wrongly and there was no connection between the two sops. Therefore, the government should not stop this. He said the Gokul had already written to the government seeking the export subsidy on production of milk powder.

Representatives of dairies said the Maharashtra government had not cleared the pending subsidies to dairies when the scheme was in progress. “The Maharashtra government still owes the sector crores of rupees,” an official from a private dairy said. Maharashtra’s dairies say they will now reduce the procurement price of milk by `2. State government officials said a decision to extend the subsidy scheme would have to be taken by the government.

Private and cooperative milk dairies in Maharashtra have raised procurement price for milk to a uniform `28 per litre from September 1, a move aimed at benefiting farmers in the drought-hit areas. These dairies were earlier giving farmers between `26-28 per litre. The rate of `28 per litre will be given to farmers for milk with 3.5% fat and 8.5% solids-not-fat (SNF).

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