From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Pashu Aadhaar
Mains level : Animal husbandry and using technology
India has the world’s largest livestock population and is also its biggest milk producer. A giant database relating to livestock information is currently being created in India. It issues an animal UID or Pashu Aadhaar to the animals. So far, nearly 22.3 million cows and buffaloes have been assigned UIDs.
- The nodal agency and repository for this – Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health or INAPH is the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
- The similarities with Aadhaar are:
- INAPH too assigns a unique random identification number to each animal
- It captures a host of data and information useful for the effective and scientific management of India’s livestock resources
- It will be the biggest global database of animals when fully captured
- The first phase of the INAPH project would cover the country’s 94 million-odd productive “in milk” female cow and buffalo population.
- It covers all indigenous, nondescript, crossbred as well as exotic milch animals.
- The exercise will subsequently be extended to all bovines, including males, calves and heifers, old and stray animals.
- Each animal will be provided a thermoplastic polyurethane ear tag bearing a 12-digit UID.
- The data being captured includes the species, breed and pedigree of the particular animal, information relating to its calving, milk production, artificial insemination (AI), vaccination and feeding/nutrition history.
Challenges so far
- Low productivity, poor animal health, the prevalence of economically debilitating diseases, and genome selection based on non-scientific and anecdotal methods
- Enable proper identification of animals and traceability of their products, be it milk or meat
- Farmers, processors, animal husbandry department officials and healthcare professionals can devise appropriate strategies for livestock management
- A major cause of zoonotic diseases and challenges in addressing them today is the absence of animal identification and traceability mechanisms
- If our dairy and livestock industry has to meet internationally-accepted sanitary and phytosanitary standards, a robust and comprehensive animal information system that allows traceability of products to their source is sine qua non
- The products obtained from healthy or premium animals can be separated from those originating from diseased or nondescript ones
- Leverage this data for scientific and risk-based management of animals to deliver better health and reproduction outcomes, enhanced productivity and improved livestock product quality.
- The information through INAPH, including the ancestry and production performance of animals, would help identify healthy and productive livestock for breeding, rejuvenation of weaker ones, plan for better nutritional management and systematically manage diseases.
- The data can be used to select disease-free, high genetic merit bulls and fertile cows for breeding indigenous breeds that are low on productivity
Step ahead than identity
- Artificial Insemination has so far met with limited success in terms of boosting overall animal productivity. One reason is the use of not-so-good quality semen from low genetic merit bulls. The poor records of AI status of most cows or the donor bulls is a caus. AI programme will get a shot in the arm with more reliable data on the insemination history of each animal.
- More efficient nutrition management through ration balancing can be achieved based on information on the feeding status of each animal.
- The entire chain, from inputs (AI/breeding, vaccination, feed and fodder, and nutrition) to output (milk and meat) can be managed to assure enhanced animal productivity and improved product quality.
The database should be seen as a significant step in heralding the next White Revolution and making livestock a vehicle of rural prosperity.