Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke out on the recent controversy surrounding the entry of Amul into Karnataka, stating that the accusations of bringing in Amul to kill Nandini were “brazen.” Speaking at the Thinkers Forum in Karnataka, Sitharaman alleged that the issue had been tweaked and twisted for political gain during the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
Sitharaman highlighted that every state in India has its own milk cooperative, and Karnataka’s Nandini is a well-known and respected brand. However, she also pointed out that she purchases Amul products when in Delhi if Nandini is not available, stating that this does not mean she is against Karnataka.
She emphasized the importance of healthy competition, which has led to India becoming the world’s largest milk producer. Sitharaman argued that the focus should be on strengthening India in every aspect, rather than creating political issues around the dairy industry.
“In India’s scheme of things, every state has its own milk cooperative. Karnataka’s Nandini – whoever doesn’t recognise it? Even now as I’ve come, I had Nandini milk, curd, peda… Of course in Delhi I’ll buy Amul. I represent Karnataka (but) in Delhi, if Nandini isn’t available, I’m mentally not a sanyasi to say I won’t drink milk if Nandini isn’t available. I still buy Amul. That’s not being against Karnataka,” Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman gave credit to former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s government for raising the procurement price of milk for the first time, with subsequent governments also increasing it. She also highlighted the many facilities provided by the Centre for farmers and those engaged in animal husbandry.
“Amul entered Karnataka when there was a Congress government here. I’m not sure I should name the Chief Minister at that time. The same respected former CM is now questioning Amul’s entry. It was in his time Amul entered North Karnataka for marketing in those areas,” she added.
The Minister’s comments come amidst accusations by the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) that the entry of Amul into the state would harm the local dairy industry. The KMF sells milk, curd, and other dairy products under the Nandini brand, which is a household name in the state.
“This, strictly speaking, is tweaked, twisted and made an emotional issue because it is election time,” she alleged, adding that “instead of building a healthy competition and a positive narrative” the issue was twisted, “and our farmers and women need not be brought into a political issue”.
Sitharaman argued that the entry of Amul into Karnataka was not a threat to Nandini and that the focus should be on building healthy competition rather than creating a negative narrative. She stressed that strengthening Nandini and supporting dairy farmers in Karnataka would continue to be a priority.
Source : Business Today April 23rd 2023