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Shri Dilip Rath**

India ranks first among the world’s milk producing nations. Dairying has become an important secondary source of income for millions of rural families and has assumed the most important role in providing employment and income generating opportunities. The per capita availability of milk was 252 gm per day during 2007-08. The growth rate of milk production over the past three decades till 9th five year plan was around 4% against the growth rate of about 2% of India’s population. This was possible because of various milk production enhancement schemes undertaken by the State as well as the Governments.

During the post-independence period, progress made in this sector has been spectacular. Milk production has increased more than six folds from a mere 17 million tonnes during 1950-51 to 104.8 million tonnes in 2007-08. Dairying has played a prominent role in strengthening India’s rural economy. It has been recognized as an instrument to bring about socio-economic transformation.

Dairy farming in India is pursued as an adjunct to agriculture. It is managed largely by utilizing crop residues and engaging family labour. Approximately 70 million rural households in the country are engaged in milk production. About 70 percent of cattle in the rural areas are owned by small and marginal farmers and landless labourers, who derive a substantial part of their household income from sale of milk.

The Government is actively supporting dairy sector by implementing various schemes. It all started with the White Revolution under the title Operation Flood launched in 1970, which has been instrumental in helping the farmers mould their own development through cooperative dairying and to help milk reach the consumers in about 700 towns and cities through a National Milk Grid. It has also helped eradicate the need for middlemen thereby reducing the seasonal price variations. As a result of the cooperative structure the whole exercise of production and distribution of milk and milk products has become economically viable for farmers to undertake on their own. This programme covered 170 milk sheds falling under 22 State Cooperative Federations and benefited more than 12 million farm families. By the end of the Operation Flood, the milk production reached the level of 66.3 million tonnes per annum from about 21.2 million tonnes per annum at the beginning of the programme. About 265 districts were covered under this programme.

Subsequently Government has been implementing various dairy development schemes like National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding, Intensive Dairy Development Programme, Strengthening Infrastructure of Quality & Clean Milk Production, Assistance to Cooperatives , Dairy/Poultry Venture Capital Fund, Feed and Fodder Development Scheme and Livestock Health and Disease Control Programme to cover left out areas and to popularize dairying as a source of livelihood.

Under the National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding (NPCBB) programme initiated from October 2000 for a period of ten years, in two phases each of five years, genetic up gradation is encouraged with a focus on development and conservation of important indigenous breeds. The project provides 100% grant-in-aid to Implementing Agencies to arrange delivery of vastly improved artificial insemination service at the farmers doorstep; bring all breadable females among cattle and buffalo under organized breeding through artificial insemination or natural service by high quality bulls within a period of 10 years and undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle and buffaloes so as to improve the genetic makeup as well as their availability At present 28 States and one Union Territory are participating in the project. Financial assistance to the tune of Rs.504.73 crore has been released to these States up to 31st July 09. Semen production in the country has increased from 22 million straws (1999-2000) to 46 million straws (2008-2009) and the number of inseminations has increased from 20 million to 44 million during the same period. As per the impact analysis report submitted by NABARD, overall conception rate has increased from 20% to 35%

In order to fill up the gaps left after implementation of Operation Flood a new scheme ‘Integrated Dairy Development Programme (IDDP) in Non-Operation Flood, Hilly and Backward Areas’ was launched in 1993-94 on 100% grant-in-aid basis. The main objectives of the scheme were; development of milch cattle; increasing milk production by providing technical input services; procurement, processing and marketing of milk in a cost effective manner; ensure remunerative prices to the milk producers; generate additional employment opportunities; improve social, nutritional and economic status of residents of comparatively more disadvantaged areas.

Since the inception of the scheme, 86 projects have been approved. Out of these, 55 projects are under implementation and 31 projects have been completed. 207 districts are covered in 25 States and a UT with a total outlay of Rs.501.84 crore till 31.03.2009. These projects have benefitted about 18.79 lakh farmers in 26844 villages in various States procuring over 20.08 lakh litres of milk per day and marketing milk of about 16.20 lakh litres per day. Milk chilling capacity of 18.49 lakh litres per day and processing capacity of 23.96 lakh litres per day has been created under this scheme

Further, the Department introduced a new centrally sponsored scheme namely, ‘Strengthening infrastructure for Quality & Clean Milk Production’ during the 10th Plan with the main objective of improving the quality of raw milk produced at the village level in the country by training farmers on good milking practices and providing detergents, stainless steel utensils, strengthening of existing laboratory facilities, adulteration test kit, disinfectants, etc. to ensure collection of clean milk. In addition of milk chilling facilities at village level in the form of bulk milk coolers provided under the scheme. Since inception, the Department has approved 131 projects spread over 21 States and one UT at a total cost of Rs.195.17 crore with a Central share of Rs.251.38 crore till 31st July, 2009. 1362 Bulk Milk Coolers of various capacities with a total chilling capacity of 21.05 lakh litres per day have been installed under the scheme. The scheme has helped in improving shelf life of raw milk so that it can be transported to nearby chilled center and dairy plants in an economical way. Moreover decline in spoilage has helped increased income to dairy farmers.

A number of dairy cooperatives with three-tier structure viz. village level primary cooperatives, district level unions and state level federations were set up in different parts of the country under the Operation Flood Programme. For a variety of reasons, a number of unions/federations have accumulated losses. These accumulated losses have been imposing severe hardships to the milk producers and resulting in, among other things, delayed and irregular payments to the poor farmer members of these cooperatives. In order to rehabilitate the milk unions a new Central sector scheme namely, ‘Assistance to Cooperatives’ was started in January 2000.

The grant is provided on 50:50 ratios between the Central Government and the State Governments. Since inception 34 rehabilitation proposals of milk unions in 12 States namely, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, Nagaland, Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu at a total cost of Rs. 23094.13 lakh with a central share of Rs. 11566.34 lakh have been approved upto 31-07-2009. Since inception a total sum of Rs.8939.24 lakh has been released till 31.07.2009. Out of 34 milk unions assisted under the scheme, 17 are reported to have been turned around and are earning net profit. NDDB which is the implementing agency of this scheme has reported that there are still milk unions which are running in losses and the Department is in the process of considering project proposals as they are submitted by NDDB.

Further, to bring about structural changes in the unorganized sector in dairy and poultry, a comprehensive scheme ‘ Venture Capital Fund for Dairy and Poultry’s sector was started in December 2004. The assistance under the scheme is provided to the rural/urban beneficiaries under a schematic proposal through bankable projects with 50% interest free loan component. The scheme is implemented through NABARD and the funds released by Government to NABARD are kept as revolving fund. Since inception, a sum of Rs.122.99 crore has been released to NABARD for implementation of scheme throughout the country. Under the scheme the entrepreneur has to contribute 10 % and arrange 40% loan from local bank. The Government provide 50 % interest free loan through NABARD.

The Government also subsidizes the interest component payable by the farmers agricultural activities to the extent of 50% only in case of regular/timely repayment. Since inception of the scheme, a total of 11810 Dairy Units & 206 poultry units have been sanctioned with a total interest free loan amount of Rs.123.71 crore till 31st July 2009.

Feed and Fodder development plays an important role in dairy development as 60 % of the cost of milk production is on account of feed and fodder. According to the report of Working Group on Animal Husbandry and Dairying for 10th Five year Plan of Planning Commission available fodder can meet the demand of only 46.7 percent of livestock. Hence, the department is implementing two schemes namely, 1) Central Fodder Development Organization and 2) Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Assistance to States for Feed and Fodder Development.

Under Central Fodder Development Organization Scheme, seven Regional Stations for Forage Production & Demonstration located in different agro-climatic zones of the country and one Central Fodder Seed Production Farm, Hessarghata, Bangalore have been established to administer the feed and fodder issues.Besides this, a Central Minikit Testing Programme on Fodder Crops is being funded under this scheme. These stations are catering to fodder related requirements of the states in their respective regions. These stations also carry out extension activities through field demonstrations and farmers’ fairs/field days. During 2007-08, these stations produced 264.42 tonnes of fodder seeds, conducted 5,241 demonstrations, organized 91 training programmes and 81 farmers’ fairs/field days. During 2008-09, these stations produced 278.52 tonnes of fodder seeds, conducted 6,854 demonstrations, organized 122 training programmes and 128 farmers’ fairs/field days. While efforts are made to ensure better livestock health in the country, efforts are also made to prevent ingress of diseases from outside the country, and maintaining of standards of veterinary drugs and formulations.

Under the centrally sponsored scheme for Assistance to States for Feed and Fodder Development central assistance is provided to States to supplement their efforts in feed and fodder development. The scheme has four components; namely, Assistance to Fodder Block Making Unit, Grassland Development including Grass Reserves, Fodder Seed Production Programme and Biotechnology Research Projects.

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme called ‘Livestock Health and Disease Control’ is being implemented throughout the country to provide Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD), for Rinderpest Eradication (NPRE), Professional Efficiency Development (PED), for Foot & Mouth Disease Control and for monitoring Rinderpest disease freedom. The two new initiatives are National Dairy Plan and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)

National Dairy Plan: However, with the increasing purchasing power and globalization, the demand for milk and milk products of good quality is increasing. In order to meet the future demands, the Government is also examining launching a National Dairy Plan with an outlay of more than Rs.17, 300 crore to achieve a target of 180 million tonnes of milk production annually by 2021-22. Milk production is expected to grow at 4% with an annual incremental output of 5 million tonnes in the next 15 years. Under this plan the government is contemplating to enhance milk production in major milk producing areas, strengthen and expand infrastructure to produce, process and market milk through the existing and new institutional structures. The plan envisages breed improvement through AI and through natural service, setting up plants to augment cattle feed, by -pass protein and mineral mixture. The plan also proposes to bring 65% of the surplus milk produced under the organized sector for procurement as against the present 30%. Efforts are on to tap for World Bank funding for this project.

The Government has launched a new scheme called Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) with a massive investment of Rs 25,000 crore during XI plan to promote agriculture and allied sectors. All activities that can further the development of AHD &F sectors are provided 100% grant under State Plan, provided that the State Government makes necessary budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied sectors. This is expected to stimulate greater involvement in this sector and help achieve the target of 6-7% per annum for AHD&F sector as a whole with dairy sector contributing 5% and meat sector contributing 10 % in XI plan. All these activities are expected to help India emerge as a major player in the world dairy sector. (PIB Features)

*Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries

PIB Aizawl

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