From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Livestock Census
Mains level : Role of livestocks in India’s agricultural sector
- India has the world’s second largest human population at 121 crore and it leads the world in livestock population at 125.5 crore.
- The 20th round of the Livestock Census is to be held very soon.
Livestock Census in India
- The importance of a livestock census was first recognised in 1919, 47 years after human counting was started in 1872.
- It is held by Animal Husbandry Statistics Division under Min. of Agriculture and Farmers welfare.
- It is conducted quinquennially (every five years).
- The ongoing 20th round of the Livestock Census involves about 50,000 enumerators and 10,000 supervisors.
What data is being captured?
- The current round is counting a larger number of species besides the regular cattle such as mithun, yak, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, dogs, rabbits, elephants and poultry birds.
- It is counting stray and abandoned animals as well.
- The data being captured includes the breed of each animal along with sex, age, productivity, use etc.
- This exercise extends to other animals such as horses, pigs, mules, camels and poultry too.
- Supplementary data on the owners of livestock are also being collected and compiled. These include information on occupation, income, landholding, education etc. to support holistic planning.
Why count livestock?
- Livestock is not only an integral part of the agriculture economy supporting the rural livelihood but also a rudimentary element of our socio-cultural milieu.
- Our cultural heritage endows great importance to owning and rearing livestock as an inseparable part of an inclusive universe.
- Accurate, reliable data therefore become the sine qua non for planning and development of the sector — and counting sheep or any other animal becomes the foundation for a peaceful growth.
To be held digitally
- To streamline the process and eliminate error, the ongoing 20th Livestock Census is harnessing the technological innovations of the digital age.
- There is complete elimination of paper, which has been replaced with tablet computers.
- The 50,000-odd enumerators are capturing the multiple parameters of the Census data on computer tablets and uploading it to the server after online validation by the supervisor, resulting in real-time compilation and updating.
- The National Informatics Centre has developed the Android-based mobile application with various features of data entry module.
- The software is not only enabling simultaneous monitoring of the operations but also developing various analytical reports that are useful for a dynamic planning process for an equally dynamic livestock sector.
- The feeder livestock is counted by no permanent administrative institution, a process that lacks bare resources.
- The Census becomes a burden and goes unnoticed as general awareness about it stays low, especially in urban areas.