Free milk supply to children may cost govt Rs 500 crore

Free milk supply to children may cost govt Rs 500 crore

State producing a surplus of 23 lakh litres of milk daily

Free milk supply to children may cost govt Rs 500 crore

The State government’s plan to provide milk to anganwadi children and students of Class I to Class V at government schools across the State will  be a burden on the exchequer.

It is said that the government will have to pay an additional subsidy of Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore for buying milk from milk producers.

“We are doling out subsidies of about Rs 800 crore by increasing the incentive for milk producers to Rs four per litre. If this scheme is approved, it will cost us an additional Rs 500 crore. But, it is better to provide nutritious milk to our children rather than export it,” Animal Husbandry Minister T B Jayachandra said here on Tuesday.
However, the government is struggling to find ways for supplying milk to children. The minister said that his department was exploring two methods, one by simply supplying milk to women at every gram panchayat to give them to their children at schools or, by packing 150 to 200 ml in tetra packs and provide it directly to children.

“The tetra packing is costly as it will cost Rs 8 per pack. We will decide on the method of distribution at the Cabinet meeting,” Jayachandra said.

At present, the milk production in the State has reached close to 54 lakh litres a day and consumption is 31 lakh litres. This, has created a surplus of 23 lakh litres, forcing milk co-operatives to either supply milk to children or export it.

Not willing to export the excess milk for converting into milk powder, citing heavy transportation costs, the State Government had mooted the proposal to provide free milk to children.

Jayachandra said that the proposal will be finalised after getting the Cabinet nod in the coming weeks.

“Our installed capacity of converting milk into milk powder for export is 10 lakh litres per month. If we export milk to neighbouring states such as Tamil Nadu, the transportation cost on the farmers will be enormous,” he added.