Milk and animal husbandry have been treated differently from crops even though they come under agriculture and allied activities, stated R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF in the daily Free Press Journal.
Sodhi, who manages millions of dairy farmers across the state of Gujarat, has asked the govt to formulate the upcoming union budget of 2021 in a way that recognises dairy farmers as equals.
Arguing his point, Sodhi explains that while an Agri farmer may have some land, most dairy and animal husbandry farmers have none. Giving a rough data, he says there are 100 million farmers and 80 per cent of them are either landless or marginal farmers.
The GCMMF MD also revealed that animal husbandry is contributing more to the national GDP compared to agriculture. He lamented that yet the funds are mostly allocated to the latter. He demanded parity between the two.
Talking of trends, Sodhi felt that while the agricultural share in GDP decreases every year, the opposite is the case in matters of animal husbandry.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Parliament on the Budget session’s first day. The Survey expects the Indian economy to grow by 11% in real terms. However, the size of the Indian economy, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is expected to contract by 7.7%.
The Survey also pointed out that the gross tax revenue earned during the year is expected to fall well short of the budgeted? 24.2 lakh crore. The Survey has said that the new farm laws, which are being widely opposed by farmer groups, will benefit small and marginal farmers and herald Indian agriculture in a new free-market era.
The Survey pointed out that the only sector expected to grow this year is agriculture which is expected to grow by 3.4%. As the Survey points out: “The agriculture and allied sectors were the sole bright spots amid the slide in performance of other sectors.” The interesting thing is that the share of agriculture as part of the total gross value added in the economy has been coming down every year.
In 2019-20, it stood at 14.7%. But in 2020-21, this is expected to grow to 16.3% due to other major sectors’ contraction. This is the first time in close to a decade the sector’s share in the economy will grow.