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Dairy Farmers to Stage Dharna in front of Parliament on 27 Jul on GST

The Dairy Farmers Federation of India (DFFI), which is part of the All India Kisan Sabha, has called upon dairy farmers across the country to join a dharna and a demonstration in front of the Parliament on July 27. The organisation has asked dairy cooperatives and traders to participate in the campaign against GST imposition on dairy products and related machinery and demand a fair price for milk, among other things.

As dairy farming has reportedly been under strain due to the rising cost of production, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s recent decision to impose 5% tax on curd, buttermilk, and lassi has further burdened the farmers. Among other factors, reports show that a steep rise in cattle fodder prices across states has left dairy farmers in distress.

In view of this, the DFFI has appealed to dairy farmers to join its nationwide campaign with the following major demands: the Union government must cancel the imposition of GST on dairy products, machinery and milking machines; the government must ensure Fair & Remunerative Price (FRP) for milk based on the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation, and implement a special scheme to reduce the production cost by supplying silage and green fodder at a subsidised rate.

They also demanded a reduction in the milk production cost by adding a special clause in the MGNREGA. The said clause will provide an annual subsidy of 200 days’ wage to all dairy farmers having a minimum of two cows or buffaloes; this is similar to the Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme, which the Left Democratic Front Government has implemented in Kerala.

The DFFI said their campaign will involve leaflet distribution and signature collection in the run-up to July 27, when the demonstration in front of the Parliament in New Delhi is planned. On the same day, massive protests will also be organised at the milk booths or collection centres at the village/taluk level across the country, they added.

“It is quite clear that the burden of the GST imposition will have to be borne directly by them (dairy traders), thereby constraining their economic strength so that big businesses can monopolise the dairy trade in India. The DFFI requests dairy cooperatives and traders to partake in a signature campaign and send memorandums to the Union Finance Minister, demanding the abolition of this GST,” the organisation said in a press release.

The federation also requested the dairy traders to join the dharna and demonstrations on July 27.

“DFFI is of the firm opinion that the unity of dairy farmers, cooperatives, and traders is the need of the hour to resist big corporate favouring policies of the Union government,” it said.

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