New Delhi, Jul 5 (IANS): The Dairy Farmers' Federation of India (DFFI) on Tuesday called upon the dairy farmers across the country to protest imposition of GST on dairy products, machineries and milking machines on July 27.
The organising committee of the DFFI appealed to all the farmers' organisations and the joint platforms including Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) to join the protest demonstrations and ensure the Union Government repeals "this anti-farmer decision through protracted struggles if required."
The GST Council at its 47th meeting held on June 28 and 29 had recommended imposition of 5 per cent GST on dairy items such as "pre- packed, pre-labeled curd, lassi and butter milk" as well as to increase GST on dairy machinery and milking machines from 12 per cent to 18 per cent.
India is the world's largest milk producer, and the sector is characterised by the concentration of petty producers with 75 per cent of the rural households owning 2-4 cows. Women and peasants from the lowest social strata are highly dependent on the dairy sector.
The DFFI, affiliated with All India Kisan Sabha, said, the price of milk in the open market will skyrocket and millions of consumers would be forced to pay higher price for milk and other dairy products.
"This will harm the economy by increasing inflation and price hike. The increase in prices will negatively affect the nutritional requirements of people from the oppressed class, caste, and gender."
The recommendation to increase GST on the dairy machinery and milking machines will have consequences on the cooperatives and small dairy entrepreneurs operating in production and value addition.
Stating that the livestock sector contributes about one-fourth output of the agricultural sector shows the economic significance of the sector, the DFFI said: "This will adversely affect over 9 crore Indian households depending on the dairy sector for their livelihoods and millions of poor consumers who depend on milk and its by-products for nutrition."