Mumbai: Some persons are spreading false information that the central government has imported milk powder to cover up the failure of the alliance government to give fair procurement prices to milk producers, alleged BJP Kisan Morcha State President and former Agriculture Minister Dr Anil Bonde. Deliberate confusion is being spread about the import of milk powder. Dr Bonde also appealed to the milk producers not to believe in the falsehood being spread by some.
Dr Bonde said, "The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had recently staged a statewide agitation to draw the attention of the state government to the demands of troubled milk producers. Raju Shetti, who supports the Maha Aghadi government, also staged an agitation on July 21 for fair milk procurement prices. Shetti had said that because of the import of milk powder by the central government it was not raising the prices of milk producers. In reality, it is learned that the central government has not imported any milk powder. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Commerce, the notification was issued by the Finance Department of the Union Government on June 23 regarding the goods to be imported to India under the GATT agreement. The WTO sanctions were ratified by Dr Manmohan Singh during his tenure as Prime Minister."
He went on, "As per the GATT agreement, Government of India is required to procure 5 lakh metric tonnes of maize, 10,000 metric tonnes of milk and cream powder, 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of sunflower oil, 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of refined cotton seed and 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of mustard oil during 2014-2015 to 2019-2020.
“After instructions were issued to this effect a rumour was deliberately spread that maize and milk were imported. NAFED and another organization were given license to import 5 lakh metric tonnes of maize. Although the license is valid till February 2021, these institutions have not yet imported the maize. These organisations have planned and taken action to purchase maize from farmers from within India as per the instructions of the Central Government. Maize procurement has been extended till July 31,” he added.
He also pointed out, "Although it is mandatory to import 10,000 metric tonnes of milk powder as per the GATT agreement, no importer has been issued with expression of interest and no import license has been issued to anyone. Therefore, the claim that milk powder was imported is completely baseless and false. Similarly, no demand has been made by the importer for import of mustard, cotton seed and sunflower oil and no license has been issued for their import to anyone."