Cooperators have reacted differently to the union budge presented before the Parliament on Friday, by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman. While dairy giant GCMMF’s MD R S Sodhi has hailed provisions of the budget for the dairy cooperative sector, NAFCUB President Jyotindra Mehta is disappointed with almost no concessions for the sector in the budget.
Talking to Indian Cooperative Amul’s MD Sodhi said” the Finance Minister has said that dairying through cooperatives shall be encouraged by creating infrastructure for cattle feed manufacturing, milk procurement, processing and marketing. This is good recognition of the Amul model of dairy cooperatives and it’s contribution in making India the largest producer of milk in the world and supporting the government’s objective of doubling farmers’ income”, Sodhi underlined.
“We can say that the FM has specific focus on gaon, gareeb and kisaan – making it the centre of everything in her speech. So, several initiatives of supporting rural women, rural households, artisans, livelihood business incubators and entrepreneurs, creating 10,000 new FPOs, dairy development through coops, e-NAM implementation etc is a progressive way of supporting our rural economy and 70% of population staying in rural areas”, Sodhi listed the plus points of the budget.
But at the end of his comment Sodhi also felt sorry for the cooperative sector in general and said “ there is concessional Income Tax of 25% for corporate but cooperative is being taxed higher and even in this budget there is no concession. “It is surprising”, he added.
It bears recall that in her maiden Budget presented before the Parliament on Friday, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman talked a lot about rural development, but the word cooperative or cooperative bank was conspicuously missing as if they played no role in rural areas.
Instead of cooperative, the Union Minister stressed the role of private entrepreneurships and said they may help in driving value-addition to farmers’ produce from the field. She, however, announced that 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations will be formed to ensure economies of scale for farmers over the next five years.
The only time she mentioned the word cooperative was in the context of dairy.” Dairying through cooperatives shall also be encouraged by creating infrastructure for cattle feed manufacturing, milk procurement, processing & marketing”, she said.