President's Desk

I know a lot more needs to be done, many more milestones need to be reached, and several endeavours need to be undertaken in the service of IDA and the Indian dairy sector. But I am happy that as I lay down office, we could together achieve a lot, given the short tenure of one year. I shall always remain indebted for your cooperation and support.

A s I pen down my thoughts today, I feel a sense of nostalgia for the memorable and eventful year that has gone by all too soon. It was an honour, that through the medium of this magazine, I could address and communicate directly with not just my fellow IDA members, but in fact, the entire dairy fraternity. My foremost mission i.e. ways to affect a turnaround in the lives of dairy farmers, my visions for the dairy sector, in fact my innermost thoughts have all been shared with you. I am grateful for this connect and shall always cherish it.

The camaraderie and affection extended to me by my fellow dairymen as I took over the mantle of President-IDA on 7th January 2017 enabled me to undertake endeavours which would otherwise not have been possible in such a short tenure. With the support of my CEC members, IDA members, IDA (HQ) staff, all officials at the zones and chapters, we could together usher in some discernible changes.

The foremost amongst these, of course, was the launch of the much-awaited Hindi bimonthly magazine “Dugdh Sarita”. Launched on 9th September 2017 — the 5th Death Anniversary of Dr. V. Kurien — this has been a stellar achievement of IDA as the magazine was conceptualized, created and launched in a record span of 3 months. The outcome of unstinted efforts by all concerned, the journal received wide acclaim and acceptance by all stakeholders, especially our target readers — the dairy farmers. As a result of overwhelming response from various dairy cooperatives, we have been inundated with bulk orders for the journal from several Milk Unions. A few of these are : - The Kolhapur Zila Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd., Mithila Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd., Udaipur Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd., Vaishal Patlipurtra Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd., Bhilwari Zila Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd.; Ajmer Milk Union and many more. Efforts are on to bring in many more Cooperatives in the fold so that the benefit of the journal percolates to the innermost reaches of our nation.

Another major decision taken by CEC members was regarding renovation of IDA (HQ) building. The existing IDA House was constructed in 1976 and is over 40 years old. Due to the ravages of time and subsequent wear and tear, the condition of the building had deteriorated and was in need of complete refurbishment. When I took over as President a landmark decision was taken by the CEC on 15th May 2017 for renovation of IDA House with a financial sanction of ₹ 1.5 crores. The work order was awarded for the renovation of interiors including office space, reception area and seven transit rooms. Moreover, with increasing membership and activities at IDA, the existing Conference room also needed expansion. A spacious state of-the-art Conference Hall with latest technological facilities including video-conferencing etc is under construction. In line with international standards, it would cater to all IDA requirements for meetings, seminars and conferences etc. The work is in full swing and after the interiors are completed, the exterior, i.e. the facade of the building would be given a fresh lease or face-lift. A well-equipped Canteen has also been planned for staff members and visitors.

As regards the Housekeeping system at IDA (HQ), it was felt that the contractor system which provided support staff was not very efficient. Office help and other staff were not being given due remuneration for their services. In a welcome move, IDA switched over to direct recruitment of support staff. Visitors at IDA would have noticed that this has visibly increased efficiency and service standards at the office.

Late Shri Paresh Pandya was a person whose memories everyone at IDA(HQ) will always cherish. An HR training and workshop for staff members had been organized at IDA House on 6th and 7th July 2017 by the renowned motivational guru and mentor Shri Pandya, Director, Centre for Management Excellence, Ahmedabad. Shri Pandya’s unique motivational techniques proved to be an extremely fulfilling and beneficial experience for all participants, helping to forge closer bonds amongst them, and leading to a more conducive work environment.

The meetings of various IDA committees were also called after a significant time lapse. The Farmers’ Forum meeting was held on 11th April and the Industrial Forum meeting on 12th April 2017. The Editorial Board met twice, first on 13th April and then again before the launch of “Dugdh Sarita” on 12th August 2017.

IDA has taken several proactive measures on issues taking place in the national arena. Given the importance of the governmental reform of the national tax system i.e. GST and its relevance to dairying, a meeting on GST was called by IDA on 12th June 2017 primarily for seeking exemptions on milk and milk products. This was attended by all IDA stakeholders and recommendations were forwarded to the Government of India.

A meeting on Pre-budget memorandum was held on 9th October 2017 with a focus on, among other things, direct and indirect taxes (GST). The recommendations of the Pre-budget Memorandum have likewise been forwarded to the Government of India.

The commendable mission of our Prime Minister aimed at “Doubling Farmers' Income by 2022”, i.e. by the 75th year of Indian Independence, holds immense significance. In this regard an inter-ministerial committee had been constituted to formulate strategies and draft a report covering the various ministerial departments. This was done after I, as President-IDA, along with Dr. R.S. Khanna, CEC member and Chairman, Kwality Ltd., Shri Ram Chandra Choudhary, Chairman, Ajmer Milk Union and Shri V.P. Chitale from Chitale Dairy participated and expressed our views on the subject. Significantly, IDA representatives Shri V.P. Chitale and Dr. R.S. Khanna were named as members in the subgroups of the committee. IDA has participated in a number of meetings organized by various government departments on the subject of doubling farmers’ income, namely at National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) etc. Our representatives participated in discussions on focus areas like financial support and transfer of technology for improving cattle breeding and productivity. Our intent has always been to reinvent livelihoods by encouraging more farmers to adopt dairying as a supplement to agriculture and thus secure steady incomes.

With preparations gaining momentum for the approaching 46th DIC at Kozhikode, I am reminded of the previous one organized last February. Due to cooperation from the entire IDA fraternity, we witnessed an excellent 45th DIC at Mumbai organized by IDA (West Zone) during 16th-18th, February 2017. I extend my best wishes and support to the organizing team of IDA (SZ) for a very successful event ahead.

Two important dates in the dairy sector calendar are the National Milk Day and the World Milk day. The Milk Days have become a hallmark of IDA and have witnessed increasing panIndian celebrations. I presided over the World Milk Day on 1st June at IDA (HQ), New Delhi and the National Milk Day on 26th November at IDA West Zone’s new office in Mumbai. I exhort all dairy stakeholders to continue organizing meaningful activities on these two occasions in the years to come with the same verve and enthusiasm.

With your cooperation and support IDA continues on its onward and upward journey at an unprecedented pace. We have witnessed a greatly enhanced membership of the Association this year. At a record figure of approximately 3500-4000 members, IDA had previously never seen such a surge in membership. I am happy to note that members in huge numbers have enrolled from IDA (West Zone) and specifically from Kolhapur. I hope more dairymen join us in our mission and the IDA family continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

The four zones of IDA are striving hard to take IDA’s work forward to the four reaches of the country. With expanding activities and membership at the zonal level the need for zones’ own work-space cannot be denied. An auspicious beginning has been made, and recently, on 2nd August 2017 IDA (WZ) acquired its own office at A-501, Dynasty Business Park, Andheri-Kurla Road, Andheri (East), Mumbai. I am hopeful that the other zones will also follow suit.

As you are all aware I am a farmer at heart and have resided in the lap of nature for a major part of my life. I sincerely believe that all human endeavours should be undertaken keeping in mind the preservation of environment and ecology. You would be happy to know that we at IDA take this principle very seriously. The adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” holds true and our entire office premises have been spruced up and beautified with landscaping as required. There is now an abundance of greenery and a feeling of joie de vivre pervades the atmosphere. I am happy that through these measures IDA has contributed its bit to the ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyan’ mission.

We have also planned to undertake Rainwater Harvesting in the campus. According to government stipulations it is a mandatory ecological requirement for all offices exceeding an area of 1000 sq. ft. IDA has given the work order for this in December, 2017.

The Latin phrase “mens sana in corpora sano” means “a healthy mind in a healthy body” i.e. physical exercise is an essential part of mental and psychological well-being. The inculcation of a sporting spirit is invaluable, and as a sportsperson I strongly advocate this. The importance of physical activity can never be undermined and for the benefit of staff members and all those residing at IDA House, a volleyball court is underway at the premises. Plans for an open-air gymnasium are also in the offing.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep; But I have promises to keep....” Commitments are meant to be honoured and promises are meant to be kept. When I took office on 7th January 2017, I had made a promise to myself that I would relinquish the post of President on completion of the current CEC tenure. I am grateful to all for investing faith in me to lead IDA during the interim period. I stood steadfast in my resolve and at the designated time called for elections which are currently underway. The results would be announced on 10th January 2018. We all know that change is the only constant, and it would be a pleasure to see a new, competent and dynamic person at the helm of IDA.

I know a lot more needs to be done, many more milestones to be reached, and several endeavours to be undertaken in the service of IDA and the dairy sector. However, with your cooperation and support, we could achieve a lot given the short span of one year. As it is said “Time and tide waits for none”. How true! The tide of my commitment as President-IDA has run its course. Even as I hand over the oars of office to a new Captain, I know that I shall always be there as a mentor and well-wisher of the Association. As I bid adieu, I am satisfied that I played my innings to the best of my ability.

My heartiest congratulations and good wishes to the new incumbent in his journey to take IDA to greater heights! As I take leave I wish all my readers happiness, prosperity and glad tidings in this New Year!!