“It’s like we have spread our wings; we are happy now with our newfound freedom. Earlier, we had to seek permission from our family members to step even an inch out of our home but now we can venture anywhere for our work and we are also earning a name and money for our work,” said 25-year-old Radha as her eyes light up while speaking to The New Indian. She is here to participate in the World Dairy Summit 2022 being held at India Mart Expo in Greater Noida.
Radha is one of the dairy workers from Balinee Milk Producer Company, which is based in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand and gives employment to almost 42,000 women. It has not just helped them attain financial security but inculcated a feeling of freedom in them as well.
Women are bucking the patriarchal system and purdah tradition in many villages across India. They are not only getting involved in animal husbandry work but also managing the entire milk production units in different parts of the country.
Rajasthan’s Sakhi Mahila Milk Producer Company Limited is another organization, just like Balinee, which is solely run by women. It was started by 10 women and can now boast of having the strength of 36,000 women.
Dharmendra Chaudhary, CEO of Sakhi Mahila Milk Producer Company Limited, said, “Last year, these women produced 1.52 lakh liters of milk and had a turnover of almost Rs 241 crore.”
“This instilled in them the confidence to do better. We deposit a certain amount in their bank account every 10 days. Sakhi Mahila is an epitome of women’s emancipation,” he pointed out.
“Sakhi Mahila members are overjoyed to be at the World Dairy Summit 2022 and feel they are contributing to society.”
Dr OP Singh, CEO of Balinee Milk Producer Company Limited, said, “Balinee has played a key role in bringing rural women into the mainstream by removing the purdah tradition.”
“In 2019, National Rural Livelihoods Mission and CM Yogi Adityanath inaugurated this company with Har ghar rozgar and har ghar vikas motto. In a very short time, we took 42,000 women into our fold and connected with 800 villages with 1.5 lakh liters of milk production,” said Singh.
“Bundelkhand is the land of Rani Lakshmibai and we saw Rani Lakshmibai in every woman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath helped us in our initiative,” he added.
India is holding the World Dairy Summit 48 years after it hosted the International Dairy Congress in 1974. The four-day summit is a congregation of global and Indian dairy stakeholders, including industry leaders, experts, farmers, and policy planners centering on the theme ‘Dairy for Nutrition and Livelihood’.
The summit will bring 1,500 dairy industry players from all over the world on a common platform.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, inaugurated the summit.