RS Sodhi is elected as President of the Indian Dairy Association (IDA)

Founded in 1948, IDA is the apex body of the dairy industry in India with members ranging from dairy cooperatives, multinationals, corporate bodies, private institutions, educational institutions, and government and public sector units among others. Dr Varghese Kurien, his mentor, held the same position in 1964 and now he got the opportunity to lead this institution after 58 years. Sodhi has 40 years of experience in the dairy sector, he has been heading Amul for the last 12 years.

Amul announced a price hike of ₹2 per litre for its retail pouch milk across markets in the country. This was followed by other players such as Mother Dairy revising milk prices in tandem. The hike works out to about 4 per cent of the maximum retail price of Amul milk. This indicates that the price hike is still lower than the average food inflation. There was a surge in varied input costs which have increased multifold during the last five months. Farm prices of raw milk have alone firmed up by almost 10-11 per cent. The cost of feed and fodder has also witnessed a significant rise during the same time due to the heatwave observed earlier in the country and on account of the extended summer season. The surge in farm prices is only being partially passed on to the consumers, thereby securing the interests of both the stakeholders—consumers and farmers.

Dairy farmers in Maharashtra will have to sort out the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) or Minimum Support Price (MSP) issue on milk by dealing with the co-operatives and private dairies as the Union and the State government are unwilling to intervene. Over the last few months, dairy farmers in Maharashtra have been demanding FRP or MSP for milk so that they don’t suffer losses when dairies cut down the prices.

National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE), Hisar in Haryana and Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar in Uttar Pradesh have jointly developed a homologous live-attenuated Lumpy Skin Disease in vaccine named ‘Lumpi-ProVacInd’, which may help the country to contain the death of cattle.

The disease has already spread to six states – Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar and Uttarakhand. Scientists have been making efforts to develop this vaccine since the LSD disease was first reported in Odisha in 2019. States are currently using goat pox to control LSD, which is also effective. The cost per dose is Rs 1-2 and the immunity induced by the vaccine usually persists for at least a year.

The net impact of GST on various dairy and agro products would be ‘marginal’ because of Input Tax Credit (ITC). This means an increase in prices would not be flat 5 per cent on pre-packaged and labelled products such as curd, lassi, buttermilk, rice, flour etc. Also, the supplier of such pre-packaged and labelled commodities eligible for availing threshold exemption or composition scheme would be entitled to exemption or composition rate. Traditional Indian sweets cannot be categorised as ‘confectionary’ in the traditional sense, Madhya Pradesh Authority for Advance Ruling (MPAAR) has said. Further, it ruled that malai sweets be treated as sweetmeat for applicability of Goods & Services Tax (GST). Sweetmeats include Indian traditional sweets such as laddoo, khoya barfi, peda, gulab jamun, and Mysore paak beside milk-based sweets and attract GST at the rate of 5 per cent.

Animal Husbandry Minister launched NDDB MRIDA Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of the National Dairy Development Board that will work on manure management initiatives across the country. It will open avenues of additional income for dairy farmers from selling slurry/dung. By replacing cooking fuel with biogas, farmers will be able to save money. Promoting the usage of dung-based manure will gradually lead to the replacement of chemical fertilisers with organic manure thereby reducing dependency on India’s fertiliser imports. The manure management initiatives have the potential to generate biogas equivalent to 50 per cent of India’s present LPG consumption and to produce bio-slurry equivalent to 44 per cent of India’s NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potash) requirement.