[Answered]Given the fact that the livestock sector has grown significantly over the last five years, it assumes an important role in income, employment and nutritional security. Comment.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Discuss the role of livestock in the economy. Mention various government initiatives taken for the same.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Livestock sector plays an important role in Indian economy. It contributes 4.11% to GDP and constitutes 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP. Rapid growth of this sector has led to more egalitarian and inclusive growth. Those engaged in it are mostly small landholders and the landless farmers, thereby helping in raising their standard of living.

Role of livestock in Indian economy:

  1. Employment: A large number of people in India being less literate and unskilled depend upon livestock for their livelihoods. It provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India. The landless and less land people depend upon livestock for utilizing their labour during lean agricultural season.
  2. Income: Livestock is a source of subsidiary income for many families in India. Livestock serve as sources of income during emergencies to meet exigencies like marriages, children education, repair of houses etc.
  3. Nutrition: The livestock products such as milk, meat and eggs are an important source of animal protein to the members of the livestock owners. The per capita availability of milk is around 375 g/day and eggs is 74/annum during 2017-18.
  4. Social security: The animals offer social security to the owners in terms of their status in the society. The families, especially the landless which own animals are better placed than those who do not.
  5. Gender equity:Animal husbandry promotes gender equality. More than 3/4th of the labour demand in livestock production is met by women. The share of women employment in the livestock sector is around 90% in Punjab and Haryana where dairying is a prominent activity and animals are stall-fed.
  6. Protection against disasters:Livestock are the best insurance against drought, famine and other natural calamities. Majority of the livestock population is concentrated in the marginal and small size of holdings. Further, agricultural productions get valuable organic manure provided by the livestock.

Government Initiatives to promote livestock in India:

Rashtriya Gokul MissionIt aims to develop and conserve indigenous breeds of bovine population. This is important to enhance milk production and to make it more remunerative to the farmers.
National Livestock MissionIts objective is to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.
National Artificial Insemination ProgrammeTo suggest novel methods of bringing about impregnation in female breeds. Also, to prevent the spread of certain diseases which are genital in nature, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the breed.
National Cattle and Buffalo Breeding ProjectTo genetically upgrade important indigenous breeds on priority basis with a focus on development and conservation.
Animal Husbandry Start-up Grand ChallengeTo appreciate innovations coming from the villages to expand the dairy sector in India.

 Way forward:

  1. Sufficient resources: Providing sufficient fodder and drinking water is the need of hour to increase productivity of livestock rearing in India, in the rain-shadow region.
  2. Marketing: Trade Policies like marketing have to be more effective for promotion of various livestock products like egg, fish, milk etc. and providing sufficient price to farmers by reducing the influence of middlemen.
  3. Promoting indigenous breeds: Our indigenous breed of cattle shall be promoted, because most foreign breed cattle are not suitable to our climate and even provide low quality. There are some exceptions like Jersey cows, but overall introduction of foreign breeds has not been very successful.
  4. Training: Necessary training and subsidies shall be provided to farmers to adopt livestock rearing as an alternate source of income.
  5. Research and development: Government shall also focus on Research & Development in the livestock sector to increase per livestock productivity to provide more benefits to small & marginal farmers.

There is a need to encourage livestock husbandry to reap its full potential. If implied with utmost priority, these advice can boost the production. Thus would further attract the landless and small farmers to take advantage of this sector for sustaining their livelihood and make India competent in the global market.

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