The low productivity of Indian cattle has been the central concern of livestock policy throughout the last century. In the First Five Year Plan, the Key Village Scheme (KVS) was launched to improve breeding, feed and fodder availability, disease control, and milk production. To meet urban areas' need for milk, the government promoted state-owned dairy plants to handle milk procurement, processing, and marketing. In 1959, the government Delhi Milk Scheme (DMS) was set up to supply milk to the urban population of Delhi. This scheme adopted the method of departmental milk procurement from the milk-producing areas around Delhi by setting up its own milk collection and chilling centers. Though the collection was started from small milk vendors initially, it ultimately ended up creating big contractors who purchased milk from the small vendors and supplied it in bulk to the milk scheme. The same policies and strategies continued in the Second Five-Year Plan. In 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture concluded that the KVS could not meet its objectives because, due to a shortage of funds, it did not stress feed and fodder development and marketing of milk. The Third Plan emphasized the need to develop dual-purpose animals for milk as well as draft use; crossbreeding of nondescript indigenous cattle was introduced during this plan. The Intensive Cattle Development Programme (ICDP) was launched in areas with high milk potential.
The disappointing performance of the dairy sector during the 1950s and 1960s (with annual growth rate of merely 1%) concerned policy makers, and the Government of India undertook a far-reaching policy initiative. Dairy development through producers' cooperatives and milk production based on milk sheds in the rural areas, modeled on the successful experience of dairy cooperatives in Gujarat, became the cornerstone of the new dairy sector policy. This policy initiative turned the Indian dairy sector around and led to all-around... [continues]
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