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No proposal to import milk from Australia at concessional rates: Minister Rupala

 
New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala on Tuesday denied farm leader Rakesh Tikait's allegation that there is a proposal to import milk from Australia.

"There are some organisations that are working only on the basis of protest-based politics and spreading misinformation. Their only aim is to distract farmers. There is no proposal for any kind of concessions on import duty for dairy products under consideration at the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Department," Rupala tweeted in response to Tikait's allegations.

Two days ago, Tikait had tweeted: "Government is going to sign an agreement next month with Australia allowing it to sell milk at Rs 20-22 per litre. This decision of the government to import milk will put a question mark on the very survival of the livestock holders of the country. Farmers will protest this move."

Rupala had also supplemented his counter with an additional tweet that said: "You would be happy to know India is the world's largest milk producer."

An official from the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairying said: "Forget import. We are milk surplus, we don't need to import milk, not from Australia, not from anywhere. Instead, what we are looking at aggressively is to export to milk deficit countries."

The government also provides working capital interest subvention to cooperatives so that they can make and store milk powder when they need to as there is a cyclic market, and winter sees excess production, which gets traded in summer, the official said.

According to government statistics, as mentioned in the Annual Report 2020-21 of the Ministry, the total annual production is 198.40 tonnes (2019-2020). The per person per day availability of milk in India is 406 gms.

Tikait has emerged as a prominent farm leader during the more than a year-long agitation protesting the contentious farm laws compelling the government to repeal those. When asked about the Minister's public denial, Tikait told IANS: "This is a pending proposal for at least one year. The Minister himself is not aware of what happens in his ministry because these are things decided directly by the PMO. This proposal went on the backburner due to the corona pandemic. But now, the government is going ahead with this agreement in February."

"Rupala may have tweeted whatever, but we know for sure this is happening in February. This company will sell milk for Rs 22 per litre in villages. The landless farmers, the small land holding farmers in villages will die. These people are dependent on milk from their livestock. The company will not buy from here, they will bring milk powder from outside. The consumers may benefit but the farmers will die," Tikait said.

--IANS
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