Both cooperative and private dairies say this scheme is proving to be unviable for them and have threatened to pull out of the subsidy scheme yet again.
The Maharashtra Government’s decision to grant a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre to dairy farmers till January 2019 has led to a major financial crisis in the sector, thanks to the delay in the release of funds. Top industry people maintained that dues are pending from October 10 till date and the government has been delaying payments. Both cooperative and private dairies say this scheme is proving to be unviable for them and have threatened to pull out of the subsidy scheme yet again. Last month, dairies in Maharashtra had waited till November 30 for then pending dues of Rs 100 crore from the state government’s subsidy scheme. Following an assurance from the government, the dairies waited for their dues.
According to Prakash Kutwal, secretary, Maharashtra Milk Producers and Processors Association, both private and cooperative dairies will be meeting the new dairy commissioner on Thursday to discuss the issue. Under the subsidy scheme of the government, dairies have to pay farmers Rs 20 per litre for milk, while the Rs 5 subsidy has to be transferred directly to the bank accounts of the farmers. While the scheme was supposed to last till November, the state government has extended it till January 2019. Till date, around 42 dairies have taken part in the scheme. According to Kutwal, subsidy has been paid by the government from August to October 10. From this date, the government is yet to release the amount to farmers,” he said.
Kutwal pointed out that the government has been demanding data on farmer accounts and is delaying the subsidy on that count. Dairies transferring the subsidy amount directly to bank accounts of farmers has made it difficult for them to participate in the scheme. Cooperative dairies, which generally deal with village-level Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCSs), have pointed out that getting details of farmer bank accounts is difficult since several farmers prefer cash payments.