Gangtok: The Union Cooperative Minister Amit Shah awarded the Sikkim Milk Union for becoming the biggest supplier of milk to the Indian Army among the 12 states of East and Northeast India.

The milk union was during the Cooperative Dairy Conclave, 2022, in Gangtok.

Similarly, Assam Milk Union (West) bagged the second position while Mother Dairy (Kolkata) bagged the third position.

Shah was joined by Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay and a host of other dignitaries including BJP MP Sambit Patra at the conclave.

Speaking on the occasion, Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated the state for achieving the NCDFI Award for the best-performing dairy cooperative from the Eastern and NE region.

He applauded the excellent performance of the Himalayan state in developing initiatives to empower farmers, women, and dairy cooperatives to boost rural economy.

“15 years ago, a cooperative conclave couldn’t have been imagined in Sikkim. Today Sikkim produces 2 lakh litres of milk per day. It is a proud achievement for the state and the only way to increase the revenue and income of people and the state. In the past, the Northeast region was only seen as a tourism destination but with the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, every state in the region now has airport access, rail connectivity, national highways and irrigation facilities,” Shah stated.

Home Minister Amit Shah addressing the gathering

Focusing on the Asta Lakshmi or eight variants of Goddess Lakshmi, Shah asserted that Sikkim can be a Maha Lakshmi among the eight Northeastern states.

“The amount of developmental revenue that was given over the past 50 years in Sikkim and the entire Northeast, the Modi government will invest as much by 2024. The Northeast contributes around 12 per cent of milk production in the country, and we aim to raise that contribution to 20 per cent in the next five years. There is an immense scope and demand for the export of milk and dairy products to the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The dairy products market is worth Rs 13 lakh crore recorded presently, a target has been fixed to increase the dairy market to the tune of Rs 21 lakh crore in the near future,” Shah said.

Shah stressed setting up primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) in every village in the country over the next five years which he claimed will be “highly beneficial” for the NE states. “At present, 65,000 active PACS are working in the country. At present, more than eight and a half lakh crore value milk production is recorded in India and added that a target has been fixed to increase the milk production to the value of Rs. 13 lakh crore in the next five years,” he said.

He highlighted various other schemes and proposals for cooperative societies and dairy farming cooperatives of Sikkim and the North East, terming Sikkim to have the potential to be Switzerland of the East not merely for its beauty but even through dairy farming. He stressed that dairy production should never go into the “hands of private companies” but remain with the cooperatives run by the dairy farmers. “Although 70% of milk business is being transacted in the unorganised sector currently, targets have been set to reduce it to 20% over the next five years,” he said.

Chief Minister Golay in his address extended gratitude to the Home Minister for gracing the event in the state capital amidst his busy schedule. He also thanked Prime Minister Modi for transforming India’s dairy sector by empowering small and marginal dairy farmers.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay.

Golay stated, “Among the various schemes in Sikkim developed to boost the rural economy, the government has been providing the financial incentive of Rs 8 per litre of milk to boost dairy production. It is a historical milestone achieved in the dairy sector. Sikkim has become the number one producer and has been exporting milk to several other states. The government’s effort is to encourage youths to embrace farming and agricultural practices which has a huge potential and can be a great source of income.”

Meanwhile, the Sikkim Milk Union MD P Senthil Kumar said the daily milk production in Sikkim was around 2.30 lakh litres per day. “Of this, over 50,000 LPD is procured and processed by Sikkim Milk Union. We have been supplying milk and other dairy products to the Army since 2008. The Union has been delivering around 18,000 litres of milk per day, along with milk products like butter and paneer,” Kumar said.

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