Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

Odisha’s Manda buffalo gets unique, indigenous tag

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indigenous bovine species

Mains level : Not Much

The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has recognized the Manda buffalo, found in the Eastern Ghats and plateau of Koraput region of Odisha, as the 19th unique breed of buffaloes found in India.

Manda Buffalo

  • The Manda are resistant to parasitic infections, less prone to diseases and can live, produce and reproduce at low or nil input systems.
  • These buffaloes have ash grey and grey coat with copper-coloured hair.
  • The lower part of the legs up to the elbow is light in colour with copper colour hair at the knee. Some animals are silver-white in colour.
  • Four breeds of cattle — Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari and Khariar — and two breeds of buffalo — Chilika and Kalahandi — and one breed of sheep, Kendrapada, have already received NBAGR recognition.

Their economic significance

  • The small, sturdy buffaloes are used for ploughing in their native habitat of the Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts.
  • There are around 1,00,000 buffaloes of this breed in the native tract mostly contributing to the family nutrition of households and assisting in all the agricultural operations in the undulated hilly terrain for generations.
  • The average milk yield of these buffaloes is 2 to 2.5 litres in single milking with more than 8% fat. However, a few of those yield up to 4 litres.
  • After going through the findings, the NBAGR made an assessment and recognised it as an indigenous and unique buffalo.

Now pls do not ignore this PYQ:

Q.What is/are unique about ‘Kharai Camel’, a breed found in India?

  1. It is capable of swimming up to three kilometres in seawater.
  2. It survives by grazing on mangroves.
  3. It lives in the wild and cannot be domesticated.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here.
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Poultry Farm Establishment Rules

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pollution caused due to Poultry Industry

Mains level : Agricultural emission

Small and marginal poultry farmers in India will now have to take measures similar to their bigger counterparts to prevent environmental pollution, according to new guidelines issued recently by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

What are the new guidelines?

(A) Establishment

  • Consent to Operate: The new guidelines state that for establishing and operating a medium-sized poultry farm of 25,000-100,000 birds, a farmer will have to obtain a certificate of Consent. Permission will be valid for 15 years.
  • Designated Authority: This will have to be taken from the State Pollution Control Board or Committee under the Water Act, 1974, and the Air Act, 1981. The Animal Husbandry Department will be responsible for implementing the guidelines at the state and district level.
  • Location: A farm should be set up 500 metres away from a residential area, 100 metres from rivers, lakes, canals, and drinking water sources, 100 metres from national highways, and 10-15 metres from village footpaths and rural roads.

(B) Operational directives

  • Ventilated farms: The guidelines state that the poultry farm should have a ventilated room to reduce the gaseous pollution from the birds.
  • Wastewater management: Also, care should be taken so that poultry feces do not mix with running water or any other pesticide.
  • Manure generation: Farmers of small- and medium-sized poultry farms will have to arrange for manure. After use, the water from a poultry farm must be collected in a tank. The guidelines suggest using it in horticulture.
  • Disposal of deads: Emphasis has also been given to the daily removal of birds that die, through burial, without harming the environment. Burial should be done three metres above the groundwater level.

(C) Large/ Small Farmer

The new guidelines have defined who is a ‘large’ or ‘small’ poultry farmer in India.

  • Those who have 5,000-25,000 birds are small farmers.
  • Those who have more than 25,000 and less than 100,000 birds are medium farmers.
  • Those who have more than 100,000 birds are large farmers.

Why need such regulation?

  • Poultry, hatchery and piggery were considered ‘green’ by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its guidelines of 2015.
  • This meant they were exempt from the air, water, and environmental protection laws.
  • Gaseous emissions and waste are major problems in poultry farming.
  • The feces of poultry birds emit gaseous ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane, all of which produce odors.

Poultry sector of India

  • According to the 20th Livestock Census 2020, there are 851.8 million poultry birds in India.
  • About 30 percent (250 million) of this is ‘backyard poultry’ or small and marginal farmers.
  • According to the 19th Livestock Census, the number of such farmers is about 30 million.
  • Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc, are reared in poultry farms for meat and eggs. Chickens that are reared for eggs are called ‘laying hens’ or ‘layers’. Those reared for meat are called ‘broilers’.

According to the 20th Livestock Census, Tamil Nadu (120 million), Andhra Pradesh (107 million), Telangana (79 million), West Bengal (77 million), Maharashtra (74 million), Karnataka (59 million crores), Assam (46 million) and Kerala (29 million) have the highest poultry populations.

Try answering this PYQ:

Consider the following statements:

  1. Agricultural soils release nitrogen oxides into environment.
  2. Cattle release ammonia into environment.
  3. Poultry industry releases reactive nitrogen compounds into environment.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here.
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Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Livestock Mission

Mains level : Paper 3- Addressing the lack of quality and affordable fodder and feed through Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed

Context

The government recently announced a Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed.

Why availability of good and affordable quality feed and fodder matters

  • A study by the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute has observed that for every 100 kg of feed required, India is short of 23.4 kg of dry fodder, 11.24 kg of green fodder, and 28.9 kg of concentrate feed.
  • Low milk productivity: The lack of good quality feed and fodder impacts the productivity levels of cattle.
  • This is one of the chief reasons why Indian livestock’s milk productivity is 20%-60% lower than the global average.
  • High input cost: If we break down the input costs, we find that feed constitutes 60%-70% of milk production costs.
  • When the National Livestock Mission was launched in 2014, it focused on supporting farmers in producing fodder from non-forest wasteland/grassland, and cultivation of coarse grains.
  • However, this model could not sustain fodder availability due to a lack of backward and forward linkages in the value chain.

Why Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed is significant

  • As about 200 million Indians are involved in dairy and livestock farming, the scheme is important from the perspective of poverty alleviation.
  • The Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed intends to create a network of entrepreneurs who will make silage (the hub) and sell them directly to the farmers (the spoke).
  • Bringing down the input cost: The large-scale production of silage will bring down the input cost for farmers since silage is much cheaper than concentrate feed.
  • Objective: The revised scheme has been designed with the objectives of increasing productivity, reducing input costs, and doing away with middlemen (who usually take a huge cut).
  • Since India has a livestock population of 535.78 million, effective implementation of this scheme will play a major role in increasing the return on investment for our farmers.

About the Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed

  • The scheme will provide 50% capital subsidy up to ₹50 lakh towards project cost to the beneficiary for infrastructure development and for procuring machinery for value addition in feed such as hay/silage/total mixed ration.
  • Private entrepreneurs, self-help groups, farmer producer organizations, dairy cooperative societies, and Section 8 companies (NGOs) can avail themselves of the benefits under this scheme.
  • The scheme can be used for covering the cost of infrastructure/machinery such as bailing units, harvester, chaff cutter, sheds, etc.

Challenges and solution

  • Seasonal availability: A major challenge in the feed sector emanates from the fact that good-quality green fodder is only available for about three months during the year.
  • Fermenting green fodder: Ideal solution would be to ferment green fodder and convert it into silage.
  • Hence, under the fodder entrepreneurship program, farmers will receive subsidies and incentives to create a consistent supply chain of feed throughout the year.

Conclusion

The mission will help marginal farmers reduce their input costs and help them in increasing the return on capital employed.

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[pib] IndiGau: India’s first Cattle Genomic Chip

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IndiGau

Mains level : Not Much

The National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad has launched a chip called IndiGau.

IndiGau

  • IndiGau is India’s first Cattle Genomic Chip for the conservation of pure varieties of indigenous cattle breeds like, Gir, Kankrej, Sahiwal, Ongole etc.
  • It is purely indigenous and the largest cattle chip in the world.
  • It has 11,496 markers more than that placed on 777K Illumina chip of US & UK breeds.
  • The manufacturing of this chip is in synergy with Rashtriya Gokul Mission and is a great example of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Utility of IndiGau

  • Indigenous bovines are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts,
  • Their productivity is less likely to be impacted by the adversities of climate change.
  • The milk of indigenous animals is high in fat and SNF (solids-not-fat) content.

(SNF content are the substances in milk other than butterfat and water in the form of casein, lactose, vitamins, and minerals which contribute significantly to the nutritive value of milk.)

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Back2Basics: National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development

  • The NPBBDD has been formulated by merging four ongoing schemes of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the dairy sector.
  • It was launched in Feb 2014.
  • This merger has been done to integrate milk production and dairying activities in a scientific and holistic manner to meet the increasing demand for milk in the country.

Components of the scheme

NPBBDD has the following three components.

  • National Programme for Bovine Breeding (NPBB)
  • National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) and
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Differences between all these schemes:

1) National Programme for Bovine Breeding

It aims-

  • To arrange quality Artificial Insemination services at farmers’ doorstep
  • To bring all breedable females under organized breeding through Artificial Insemination or natural service using germplasm of high genetic merits

2) National Programme for Dairy Development

It aims-

  • To create and strengthen infrastructure for the production of quality milk including cold chain infrastructure linking the farmer to the consumer
  • To strengthen dairy cooperative societies/Producers Companies at the village level
  • To increase milk production by providing technical input services like cattle-feed, and mineral mixture etc.

3) Rashtriya Gokul Mission

It aims-

  • To undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock.
  • To enhance milk production and productivity of indigenous bovines.
  • To upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi.

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Anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Harit Dhara

Mains level : Methane pollution

An Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institute has developed an anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’.

Harit Dhara

  • Harit Dhara is prepared using condensed and hydrolysable tannin-rich plant-based sources abundantly available in the country.
  • It changes the composition of the volatile fatty acids that are the end-products of rumen fermentation (along with hydrogen and CO2).
  • It roughly costs Rs 6/kg and it is to be fed only to animals aged above three months having fully functional rumen.
  • When given to bovines and sheep, it not only cuts down their methane emissions by 17-20%.
  • It also results in higher milk production and body weight gain.

Why it is significant?

  • Belching cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats in India emit an estimated 9.25 million tonnes (mt) to 14.2 mt of methane annually, out of a global total of 90 mt-plus from livestock.
  • And given methane’s global warming potential – 25 times of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 100 years, making it a more potent greenhouse gas – that’s cause for concern.
  • An average lactating cow or buffalo in India emits around 200 litres of methane per day, while it is 85-95 litres for young growing heifers and 20-25 litres for adult sheep.
  • Feeding Harit Dhara can reduce these by a fifth.

How is methane produced by the cattles?

  • Methane is produced by animals having rumen, the first of their four stomachs where the plant material they eat – cellulose, fibre, starch and sugars – gets fermented or broken down by microorganisms prior to further digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Carbohydrate fermentation leads to the production of CO2 and hydrogen.
  • These are used as substrate by archaea – microbes in the rumen with structure similar to bacteria – to produce methane, which the animals then expel through burping.
  • Harit Dhara acts by decreasing the population of protozoa microbes in the rumen, responsible for hydrogen production and making it available to the archaea for reduction of CO2 to methane.
  • Tropical plants containing tannins – bitter and astringent chemical compounds – are known to suppress or remove protozoa from the rumen.

Need for India

  • The 2019 Livestock Census showed India’s cattle population at 193.46 million, along with 109.85 million buffaloes, 148.88 million goats and 74.26 million sheep.
  • Being largely fed on agricultural residues – wheat/paddy straw and maize, sorghum or bajra stover – ruminants in India tend to produce 50-100% higher methane than their industrialized country counterparts.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following:

  1. Carbon monoxide
  2. Methane
  3. Ozone
  4. Sulphur dioxide

Which of the above are released into atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4


Back2Basics: CO2 equivalents

  • Each greenhouse gas (GHG) has a different global warming potential (GWP) and persists for a different length of time in the atmosphere.
  • The three main greenhouse gases (along with water vapour) and their 100-year global warming potential (GWP) compared to carbon dioxide are:

1 x – carbon dioxide (CO2)

25 x – methane (CH4) – I.e. Releasing 1 kg of CH4into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing 25 kg of CO2

298 x – nitrous oxide (N2O)

  • Water vapour is not considered to be a cause of man-made global warming because it does not persist in the atmosphere for more than a few days.
  • There are other greenhouse gases which have far greater global warming potential (GWP) but are much less prevalent. These are sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
  • There are a wide variety of uses for SF6, HFCs, and PFCs but they have been most commonly used as refrigerants and for fire suppression.
  • Many of these compounds also have a depleting effect on ozone in the upper atmosphere.

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Why the dairy sector needs more private players

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Operation Flood

Mains level : India's dairy sector

One of India’s largest dairy cooperative societies has just raised its milk prices for consumers by Rs 2/litre and this has become national news.

Sparking off a debate

  • Many in the media are debating how this will push up Consumer Price Index causing inflationary pressures, which may soon force the RBI to change its “accommodative stance” on monetary policy.

Why such hues over Milk?

Milk is an important case study for our overall agriculture sector.

  • First, milk is our biggest agri-commodity in terms of value, greater than paddy (rice), wheat, and sugarcane combined.
  • Second, India is the largest producer of milk in the world with an estimated production of about 208 million tonnes in 2020-21, way above its closest competitor, the US, whose milk production hovers around 100 million tonnes.
  • Third, our dairy sector is dominated by smallholders with an average herd size of 4-5 animals.
  • Fourth, and this is important, there is no minimum support price (MSP) for milk. It is more like a contract between the company and the farmers.

How is the milk price determined?

  • The price of milk is largely determined by the overall forces of demand and supply.
  • Increasing costs of production enter through the supply side, but the demand side cannot be ignored.
  • As a result of all this, the overall growth in the dairy sector for the last 20 years has been between 4-5 per cent per annum, and lately, it has accelerated to even 6 per cent.

Concerns of dairy farmers

  • For dairy farmers, this increase in milk prices is not commensurate to the increase in their feed and other costs, and they feel that their margins are getting squeezed.
  • They also feel that this price still does not count their logistics cost.

Transformation since Op Flood

  • It is well known that “Operation Flood” (OF) that started in the 1970s transformed this sector.
  • The institutional innovation of a cooperative model, steered by Verghese Kurien, changed the structure of this sector.
  • However, even after five decades, cooperatives processed only 10 per cent of the overall milk production.
  • India needed the double-engine force of the organised private sector to process another 10 per cent.
  • The doors for the private sector were opened partially with the 1991 reforms, but fully in 2002-03 under the leadership of Vajpayee, when the dairy sector was completely de-licenced.

Rise of dairypreneurs

  • Many start-ups “dairypreneurs” have come in promising a farm-to-home experience of milk.
  • There is one company that delivers fresh milk at the consumer’s doorstep and gives quality testing kits at home.
  • These have digitized cattle health, milk production, milk procurement, milk testing, and cold chain management.

Effective breeding

  • Sexed semen technology helps in predetermining the sex of offspring by sorting X and Y chromosomes from the natural sperm mix.
  • This can solve the problem of unwanted bulls on Indian roads.
  • Although the current cost of sexed sorted semen is high, Maharashtra has taken a bold step in subsidizing it for artificial insemination.

Way forward

  • The upshot of all this is that let prices be determined by market forces, with marginal support from the government or cooperatives in times of extreme.
  • The major focus should be on innovations to cut down costs, raise productivity, ensure food safety, and be globally competitive.
  • That will help both farmers and consumers alike.
  • The cooperatives did a great job during OF, and are still doing that, but the private sector entering this sector in a big way has opened the gates of creativity and competition.

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Brucellosis: Preventive measures launched

Health and Animal Husbandry teams have launched preventive measures and initiated an epidemiological investigation, after one case of brucellosis, was confirmed in a prisoner.

  • The infection is passed on to humans through the ingestion of unpasteurized milk and milk products or contact with animal secretions.

Brucellosis:

  • Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that mainly infects cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs.
  • Humans can get infected if they come in direct contact with infected animals or by eating or drinking contaminated animal products or by inhaling airborne agents.
  • According to the WHO, most cases of the disease are caused by ingesting unpasteurised milk or cheese from infected goats or sheep.

Symptoms:

  • Fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache and muscle pain
  • While some signs and symptoms can last for long periods of time, others may never go away.
  • These include recurrent fevers, arthritis, swelling of the testicles and scrotum area, swelling of the heart, neurologic symptoms, chronic fatigue, depression and swelling of the liver or spleen.
  • Human to human transmission of the virus is rare.

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Shaphari Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shaphari Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

Commerce Ministry wants to build confidence in quality, antibiotic-free shrimp products from India for the global market.

Shaphari Scheme

  • The Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) has developed a certification scheme for aquaculture products called ‘Shaphari’, a Sanksrit word that means the superior quality of fishery products suitable for human consumption.
  • The Shaphari scheme is based on the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s technical guidelines on aquaculture certification.
  • It will have two components — certifying hatcheries for the quality of their seeds and, separately, approving shrimp farms that adopt the requisite good practices.
  • The certification of hatcheries will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers.
  • Those who successfully clear multiple audits of their operations shall be granted a certificate for a period of two years.
  • The entire certification process will be online to minimize human errors and ensure higher credibility and transparency.

Bolstering confidence in India’s Shrimp production

  • To bolster confidence in India’s frozen shrimp produce, the country’s biggest seafood export item, the Centre has kicked off a new scheme called ‘Shaphari’ to certify hatcheries and farms that adopt good aquaculture practices.
  • Frozen shrimp is India’s largest exported seafood item.
  • But a combination of factors had hurt export volumes in recent months, including container shortages and incidents of seafood consignments being rejected because of food safety concerns.
  • Some recent consignments sourced from Indian shrimp farms being rejected due to the presence of antibiotic residue and this is a matter of concern for exporters.
  • The National Residue Control Programme for food safety issues in farm produce and pre-harvest testing system is already in place.
  • But this certification was proposed as a market-based tool for hatcheries to adopt good aquaculture practices and help produce quality antibiotic-free shrimp products to assure global consumers.

Frozen shrimp export potential

  • Frozen shrimp is India’s largest exported seafood item. It constituted 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20.
  • India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20, with the U.S. and China its the biggest buyers.
  • Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are India’s major shrimp producing States, and around 95% of the cultured shrimp produce is exported.

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What are Military Farms?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Military farms, Project Freiswal

Mains level : NA

Military farms have been closed after 132 years of service.

Read till the end to know what Project Freiswal is.

What are Military Farms?

  • The farms were set up with the sole requirement of supplying hygienic cow milk to troops in garrisons across British India.
  • The first military farm was raised on February 1, 1889, at Allahabad.
  • Post-independence, the farms flourished with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 farms all over India.
  • They were even established in Leh and Kargil in the late 1990s.

Why are they shutdown?

  • The major task was the management of large tracts of defence land, production and supply of baled hay to animal holding units.
  • There have been several recommendations in the past to shut down the farms.
  • In 2012, the Quarter Master General branch had recommended their closure.
  • Again in December 2016 by Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (retd) committee was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.

Their significance

  • For more than a century, the farms with dedication and commitment supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25,000 MT of hay yearly.
  • It is credited with pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle and the introduction of organised dairying in India, providing yeoman service during the 1971 war.
  • It also supplied milk at the Western and Eastern war fronts as well as during the Kargil operations to the Northern Command.

Another initiative: Project Freiswal

  • It utilizes Friesian-Sahiwal cross-breeds as a base for the evolution of a new milch strain – “Frieswal” – through interbreeding, selection and progeny testing of bulls.
  • It was introduced on 3 November 1987 at the Military Farm School and Research Centre in Meerut.
  • It had the objective of studying the genetic aspects of Holstein x Sahiwal crossbreeds and those of important indigenous cattle breeds for their improvement through selection.

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Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF)

Mains level : Paper 3- Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF)

Importance of animal husbandary and dairy sector

  • As an allied industry of agriculture, the animal husbandry and dairy sector collectively employs more than 100 million people.
  • Since the bulk of establishments in this sector is concentrated in rural India, the socio-economic relevance of this sector cannot be overstated.
  • the Central government unveiled a string of measures to cushion the economy, as a part of which the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) was announced.

More about AHIDF

  • The AHIDF has been set up with an outlay of ₹15,000 crore.
  • As per the provisions of AHIDF, a project will be eligible for a loan amount that covers up to 90% of the estimated cost –
  • There will be interest subvention of 3% for all eligible entities.
  • Applicants can submit the proposal with a complete Detailed Project Report through the Udyami Mitra Portal.
  • The fund includes a diverse set of stakeholders such as FPOs, private dairy players, individual entrepreneurs, and non-profits within its ambit.

Strengthening dairy value chain

  • There is a pressing need to enhance chilling infrastructure at collection centres by setting up bulk milk coolers.
  • If the infrastructure needs for milk processing and distribution are included, then the overall potential investment opportunity is to the tune of ₹1,40,000 crore across the dairy value chain.
  • There is also considerable potential to increase the productivity of cattle, especially by enhancing the quality of animal feed.
  • With this in mind, the AHIDF has been designed to support the establishment of animal feed plants of varying capacities.
  • The infrastructure gap of 10-18 MMT in the production and supply of affordable compound cattle feed translates into an investment potential of around ₹5,000 crore.

Boosting the poultry industry

  • There are not only economic but nutritional benefits to boosting the poultry segment’s output, efficiency and quality.
  • India is the fourth largest chicken meat producer and the second largest egg producer in the world.
  • India is well-positioned to help mitigate rampant malnutrition given that chicken meat provides the cheapest source of protein per unit.
  • With eggs being introduced as part of the mid-day meal within several anganwadis in the country, an upgradation in poultry infrastructure would be closely intertwined with social justice outcomes too.
  • Macro benefits regarding climate change and employment are linked to this sector.
  • Enhanced infrastructure can make processing units more energy-efficient and help mitigate their carbon footprint.

Consider the question ” As an allied industry of agriculture, the animal husbandry and dairy sector are important for rural area and the socio-economic relevance of this sector cannot be overstated. In light of this, examine the role Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) could play in transforming rural economy.”

Conclusion

The AHIDF also has the potential to create over 30 lakh jobs, even as it overhauls domestic infrastructure towards giving greater prominence to India’s dairy and livestock products in the global value chain.

 

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Farakka ‘lock’ and Hilsa Fish

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Farakkha Barrage, Hilsa fish

Mains level : Not Much

It has been reported that an old project to facilitate the movement of Hilsa upstream along the Ganga to its spawning grounds of yore may come to fruition this year.

What is the news?

  • Back in February 2019, the government had unveiled a project to redesign the navigation lock at the Farakka Barrage at a cost of Rs 360 crore to create a “fish pass” for the Hilsa.

Hilsa Fish

  • In scientific parlance, the Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is an anadromous fish.
  • It lives most of its life in the ocean, but during the rainy season, the Hilsa moves towards the estuary, where the rivers of India and Bangladesh meet the Bay of Bengal.
  • A large part of the shoal travels upstream in the Padma and the Ganga — some are known to move towards the Godavari, and there are records of Hilsa migration to the Cauvery.
  • Culinary lore has it that the fish that travel the farthest upstream have the best combination of the flavours of the sea and the river.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Wildlife Naturally found in
1. Blue-finned Mahseer Cauvery River
2. Irrawaddy Dolphin Chambal River
3. Rusty-spotted Cat Eastern Ghats

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Obstructions created by Farakka Barrage

  • Historical records also show that until the 1970s, the Hilsa would swim the Ganga upstream to Allahabad — and even to Agra.
  • But the Farakka Barrage, which became operational on the Ganga in 1975, disrupted the westward movement of the Hilsa.
  • The barrage had a navigation lock that stopped the fish from swimming upstream beyond Farakka.
  • In Buxar on the border of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the last recorded catch of the Hilsa was made 32 years ago.
  • The role of the Farakka Barrage in disrupting the Hilsa’s journey is well documented and has been discussed in Parliament as well.
  • On August 4, 2016, then Union Water Resources Minister told Lok Sabha about plans to create “fish ladders” to help the fish navigate the obstacle posed by the barrage.

Fish ladders/fishways/fish passes

  • Fish passes — also known as fish ladders or fishways — aim to assist fish in crossing obstacles presented by dams and barrages.
  • They usually consist of small steps that allow the fish to climb over the obstacles and enable them to reach the open waters on the other side.

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Dairy Industry in India : An analysis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NAIP

Mains level : Paper 3- Use of technology to increase milk production in India

The article highlights the issues facing the dairy sector and explains the utility of IVF technology for crossbreeding.

Importance of dairy sector

  • The dairy sector assumes significance on account two reasons:
  • 1) It has to do with the socio-cultural affinity towards cows and dairy products in large parts of the country.
  • 2) As an industry, it employs more than 70 million farmers.
  • Need of the hour is for us to identify ways in which we can enhance the return on investment for our farmers.

India’s journey from milk deficit country to one of surplus

  • Initiated in 1970, Operation Flood transformed India into one of the largest milk producers.
  • The per capita availability of milk in 2018-19 was 394 grams per day as against the world average of 302 grams.
  • Today with an annual production of 187.75 million tonnes India accounts for about 22% of the world’s milk production.
  • However, India is yet to join the ranks of major milk exporting nations, as much of what we produce is directed towards meeting domestic demands.

Making India milk exporting nation

  • Indigenous cows produce 3.01kgs of milk per cow per day, while the yield of exotic crossbred cows is 7.95kgs.
  • Crossbreeding has taken off in a big way because of the advancements in reproductive technologies like In vitro fertilization (IVF), embryo transfer process, and artificial insemination.
  • Out of these processes, IVF and artificial insemination have proven to be the most popular and effective methods.
  • The NAIP (Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme) Phase-I was launched in September 2019.
  • Every animal in the programme was assigned a 12-digit unique identification number under the Pashu Aadhar scheme.
  • NAIP Phase-II was initiated on 1 August 2020 with an allocation of 1,090 crore in 604 districts covering 50,000 animals per district and is on track to be completed by the 31 May 2021.
  • Under the programme, 9.06 crore artificial inseminations will be performed and is expected to lead to the birth of 1.5 crore high yielding female calves.
  • Consequently, 18 million tonnes of additional milk will be produced as average productivity will be enhanced from 1,861kg per animal per year to 3,000kg per animal per year.
  • Artificial insemination (AI) technology has been the most used method in India, but its success hinges upon accuracy in heat detection and timely insemination.
  • And this is where In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technology will prove to be more effective.

Conclusion

In keeping with our ethos of ‘Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan’ the marriage of rural farming with the latest innovations in technology will usher in unprecedented transformation in our dairy industry.

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Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020).

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Bovine nationalism

The recent law passed by the Karnataka State Assembly on bovine slaughter is a topic of contention.

Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020)

  • The Karnataka state assembly passed the Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020).
  • It has banned the slaughter of all cows, bulls, bullocks and calves as well as it also outlaws the slaughter of buffaloes below the age of 13.
  • Smuggling and transporting animals for slaughter is also an offence.
  • The bill prescribes punishments of between three to seven years – which is more than the punishment prescribed in Indian law for causing the death of a human being by negligence.
  • It also gives the police powers to conduct searches based on suspicion.
  • Though the bill has yet to be passed by the state’s Legislative Council, the government has said it will pass an ordinance to implement its provisions.

Practice Question: The recent law passed by Karnataka State Assembly on bovine slaughter is a topic of contention. Analyze.

Muslims and farmers

  • The legislation, based on Hinduism’s reverence for the cow, undermines the food practices of many Indians, for whom beef is a cheap source of protein.
  • Already, Indians are some of the most malnourished people on the planet and, remarkably, nutrition standards are worsening.
  • The bill also penalizes people working in the meat and leather industries that depend on cattle slaughter, many of whom are Muslim.

Dairy economics

  • The sector that will take the largest hit from the legislation is the dairy industry. India’s dairy industry is massive with an annual turnover of Rs 6.5 lakh crore – making it by far India’s largest agricultural product.
  • India’s farmers earn more from dairy than wheat and rice put together. India has almost as many bovines as people in the United States with one for every four Indians.
  • The problem with the bill is that that slaughter is integral to the dairy industry’s economic functioning. Dairy farming in India functions on small margins. As a result, the upkeep of unproductive animals would throw their bottom lines out of alignment.
  • When a male calf is born or a milch animal stops giving milk (or yield falls), farmers need to be able to get rid of the animal. In normal times, this sale is also a source of capital for the farmer.
  • In 2014, the size of the used cattle market just in Maharashtra was valued at as much as Rs 1,180 crore per year.
  • Verghese Kurien, founder of Amul and the architect of India’s White Revolution, that supercharged India’s milk production from 1970, opposed any ban on cow slaughter. Kurein was clear that the economics of dairy demanded slaughter.

Cowed down

  • The statistics produced by the 2019 Livestock Census are clear: cow slaughter laws have actually ended up harming cows.
  • Between 2012 and 2019, states with cow slaughter laws such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh saw their cattle numbers fall (by 10.07%, 4.42% and 3.93%, respectively).
  • On the other hand, West Bengal – one of India’s rare states where cattle slaughter has no restrictions – saw a massive increase of 15.18%. As a result, Bengal now has the Indian Union’s largest cattle population.
  • Farmers simply let unproductive cattle loose, giving rise to the problem of large herds of feral cows which have caused economic havoc and pose a danger of citizens – a problem unique to India.
  • In the countryside of many states, famished cattle herds now pose a danger to crops and cause accidents.

Buffalo nation

  • Naturally, stray cattle numbers are directly linked to cow slaughter laws. States such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have seen substantial rises in their stray cow population between 2012 and 2019 while West Bengal has seen a sharp fall.
  • Between 2012 and 2019, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh saw their buffalo numbers rise.
  • Since the buffalo – not seen as sacred in Hinduism – could be slaughtered legally, dairy farmers were clearly preferring it over the holy cow.
  • But the Karnataka bill very alarming even compared to the devastation caused by the earlier cow slaughter laws is because it even targets buffalos.

Making it worse

  • Karnataka’s stringent laws against cow slaughter is part of a policy pattern that – rather than make India’s already precarious economic situation better – makes Indians worse off.
  • Recent examples include demonetization, the new Goods and Services Tax as well as putting in place the world’s harshest Covid-19 lockdown, making sure India’s was the worst affected country economically during the pandemic.
  • India is going through a rural crisis. With poor yields due to unscientific farming methods and lack of support structures like irrigation, the average monthly income of the Indian farmer stands at only Rs 6,427 per month.
  • To make matters worse, for small farmers (defined as owning less than a hectare of land), their farming income is too low to cover their expenses and they are in debt and this describes the situation of 83% of Indian farmers.

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[pib] Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RKA

Mains level : India's dailry potential

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) has started a nationwide campaign to celebrate “Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan” this year on the occasion of Deepawali festival.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following statements:

  1. Agricultural soils release nitrogen oxides into the environment.
  2. Cattle release ammonia into the environment.
  3. Poultry industry releases reactive nitrogen compounds into the environment.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA)

  • RKA has been constituted by PM for the conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny and for giving direction to the cattle development programmes.
  • It is a high powered permanent body to formulate policy and to provide direction to the implementation of schemes related to cattle so as to give more emphasis on livelihood generation.

Why need RKA?

  • Livestock economy sustains nearly 73 million households in rural areas.
  • Even though, the country is the largest producer of milk, the average milk yield in India is only 50% of the world average.
  • The low productivity is largely due to deterioration in genetic stock, poor nutrition and unscientific management.

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Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PMMSY, E Gopala

Mains level : Fisheries sector of India

PM will digitally launch the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) today.

PM Matsya Sampada Yojana

  • The PMMSY aims to bring about the Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
  • It has an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores for its implementation during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/UTs, as a part of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package.
  • PMMSY aims at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
  • Thus it aims doubling of incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and generation of gainful employment opportunities in the sector.

Aims and objectives of PMMSY

  • Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
  • Enhancing of fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilization of land and water
  • Modernizing and strengthening of the value chain – post-harvest management and quality improvement
  • Doubling fishers and fish farmers incomes and generation of employment
  • Enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports
  • Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
  • Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Implementation strategy

The PMMSY will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

(a) Central Sector Scheme and

(b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme

  • Majority of the activities under the Scheme would be implemented with the active participation of States/UTs.
  • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
  • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

Other inaugurations: e-Gopala App

  • e-Gopala App is a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.
  • At present no digital platform is available in the country for farmers managing livestock including buying and selling of disease-free germplasm in all forms (semen, embryos, etc); availability of quality breeding services and guiding farmers for animal nutrition etc.
  • There is no mechanism to send alerts (on the due date for vaccination, pregnancy diagnosis, calving etc) and inform farmers about various government schemes and campaigns in the area.
  • The e-Gopala App will provide solutions to farmers on all these aspects.

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[pib] Indian breed of Pet Dogs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various breeds mentioned

Mains level : NA

In the latest address of Mann ki Baat, PM has talked contributions of dogs in the security forces and emphasized on raising and rearing of various breeds of Indian native dogs.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What is/are unique about ‘Kharai camel’, a breed found in India?

  1. It is capable of swimming up to three kilometres in seawater.
  2. It survives by grazing on mangroves.
  3. It lives in the wild and cannot be domesticated.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a)

Indian breeds that PM talked about:

(1)Mudhol hounds

  • The Mudhol hounds come from the region bordering Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • According to a popular legend Ch. Shivaji Maharaj bred and used these dogs in his army.
  • The breed was named after the erstwhile princely state of Mudhol, which was part of the Bombay Presidency in British India.
  • The last king of the state, King Malojirao Ghorpade, presented a pair of these puppies to King George V when he visited the UK and it was the English emperor who christened the dogs as Mudhol hounds.
  • Mudhol hounds have narrow heads that are disproportionately smaller to their bodies but are tall in height.

(2)Himachali hounds

  • The Himachali hounds are locally known as the ‘Gaddi’ dog and come from the Himalayan region. They are massive, mastiff-like dogs with thick fur to protect them from the cold.
  • They look similar to the Tibetan mastiff but are less bulky.
  • ‘Gaddi’ means shepherd in Urdu, and these dogs are primarily guarding livestock.

(3)Rajapalayam

  • The breed Rajapalayam is believed to have originated from Tamil Nadu, and named after the state’s Rajapalayam city in the Virudhunagar district.
  • A rare breed, these dogs are only found in certain pockets of the state.
  • These dogs are white, lean, muscular, and have historically made good hunters.
  • They are believed to have fought alongside the Polygar soldiers against the British East India Company during the Polygar wars from 1799 to 1805.
  • This is why the Rajapalayam dogs are also known as ‘Polygar hounds’.

(4) Kanni and Chippiparai

  • The Kanni dog is another breed from Tamil Nadu, and its name translates to “pure” in Tamil after its fierce loyalty.
  • Like the Rajapalayam, Kanni dogs specialise in hunting hares, wild boars, and blackbucks.
  • However, since the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was passed, these dogs have been acting as guard dogs.
  • The Kennel Club of India, which maintains a registry of purebred dogs in India, has registered this dog under two names — Kanni and Chippiparai.

(5)Combai

  • The Combai dogs also originate from Tamil Nadu. They are tan-coloured with a black snout and appear shorter and stouter than the Rajapalayam. They are classified as terriers.
  • Like the Kanni and Rajapalayam, these dogs are rare and a dying breed and were historically used for boar hunting and guarding purposes.
  • The CRPF recently recruited Combai dogs into their Dog Breeding and Training School.

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Godhan Nyay Yojana to boost rural economy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Godhan Nyay Yojana

Mains level : Animal husbandary sector of India

Chhattisgarh is set to launch ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’. The scheme aims to put money in the pockets of people living in rural areas and also solve the problem of stray cattle.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Consider the following statements

  1. Agricultural soils release nitrogen oxides into the environment.
  2. Cattle release ammonia into the environment.
  3. Poultry industry releases reactive nitrogen compounds into the environment.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Godhan Nyay Yojana

  • Under the scheme, the Chhattisgarh government will purchase cow dung at the rate of Rs 2 per kg.
  • This scheme will turn cow dung into a profitable commodity.
  • The scheme also aims to make cow rearing economically profitable and to prevent open grazing in the state, as well as help with the problem of stray animals on roads and in urban areas.

How will the scheme help the rural economy?

  • The scheme will generate additional income and increase employment opportunities.
  • The government will procure cow dung and prepare vermicompost in order to move towards organic farming.
  • There is a huge market for organic farming. Vermicompost will be sold by cooperative societies.
  • Distribution of vermicompost fertilizer to farmers will be done as a commodity loan by cooperative societies, banks.

Preventing strays in urban areas

  • In urban areas, the scheme will prevent movement of stray animals on roads and highways, and also improve urban sanitation with proper disposal of waste produced by cattle.
  • Cattle will be tagged with the owner’s name, address, mobile number to the neck of each animal after the survey to ensure accountability of cattle owners if their cattle are found in the open.

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G4 Flu virus and it’s pandemic potential

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : G4 Flu

Mains level : Rise in zoonotic diseases and their possible causes

In new research, scientists from China – which has the largest population of pigs in the world – have identified a “recently emerged” strain of influenza virus that is infecting Chinese pigs and that has the potential of triggering a pandemic.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What are zoonotic diseases? Why China has emerged as the epicentre of global outbreaks of zoonotic disease?

G4 Flu

  • Named G4, the swine flu strain has genes similar to those in the virus that caused the 2009 flu pandemic.
  • The scientists identified the virus through surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs that they carried out from 2011 to 2018 in ten provinces of China.
  • They also found that the G4 strain has the capability of binding to human-type receptors (like, the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2 receptors in humans).
  • The virus was able to copy itself in human airway epithelial cells, and it showed effective infectivity and aerosol transmission.

Swine industry is the new hotspot for zoonoses

  • The scientists report that the new strain (G4) has descended from the H1N1 strain that was responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic.
  • Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus.
  • Thus, systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is a key measure for pre-warning the emergence of the next pandemic influenza.

Back2Basics: 2009 swine flu pandemic

  • The WHO declared the outbreak of type A H1N1 influenza virus a pandemic in 2009 when there were around 30,000 cases globally.
  • It was caused by a strain of the swine flu called the H1N1 virus, which was transmitted from human to human.
  • Influenza viruses that commonly circulate in swine are called “swine influenza viruses” or “swine flu viruses”.
  • Like human influenza viruses, there are different subtypes and strains of swine influenza viruses. Essentially, swine flu is a virus that pigs can get infected by.
  • The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.

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Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AHIDF

Mains level : Animal husbandary sector of India

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) worth Rs. 15000 crore.

Practice question for mains:

Q. In pursuit of doubling farmer’s income, development of animal husbandry has to play a crucial role. Discuss.

About AHIDF

  • The fund is part of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus packages to help people affected by the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The AHIDF would promote infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants.
  • Farmer producer organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 companies, private companies and individual entrepreneurs would be eligible to benefit from the fund.
  • It will ensure the availability of capital to meet upfront investment required for these projects and also help enhance overall returns/ payback for investors.

Provisions of the AHIDF

  • The beneficiaries will have to contribute 10 per cent margin towards the proposed infra project and the rest 90 per cent would be a loan component to be made available to them by scheduled banks.
  • The balance 90% would be the loan component to be made available by scheduled banks.
  • Government of India will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries.
  • There will be 2 years moratorium period for the principal loan amount and 6 years repayment period thereafter.

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Species in news: Hilsa Fish

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hilsa Fish`

Mains level : NA

Fishermen in West Bengal are in for a pleasant surprise amid the COVID-19 gloom as they have exuded hope of a bumper yield of Hilsa, known as “maacher rani” (queen of fish).

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q. Consider the following pairs:

Wildlife Naturally found in
1. Blue-finned Mahseer Cauvery River
2. Irrawaddy Dolphin Chambal River
3. Rusty-spotted Cat Eastern Ghats

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Hilsa Fish

IUCN status: Least Concerned

  • The Hilsa is a species of fish related to the herring, in the family Clupeidae.
  • It is a very popular and sought-after food fish in the Indian Subcontinent.
  • It is the national fish of Bangladesh and state symbol in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura.
  • The fish contributes about 12% of the total fish production and about 1.15% of GDP in Bangladesh.

What’s so special about Hilsa?

  • Hilsa has a history of migrating to Allahabad in the Ganga river system from Bangladesh.
  • Though it’s a saltwater fish, it migrates to sweet waters of the Ganges from the Bay of Bengal.
  • It travels upstream of the river during the mating seasons and returns to its natural abode after spawning.

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Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) for 1.5 crore dairy farmers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : KCC scheme

Mains level : KCC and its outreach

The Union Govt. is set to provide Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to 1.5 crore dairy farmers belonging to Milk Unions and Milk producing Companies within the next two months under a special drive.

We can expect multiple statements based prelim question here. Note the following features of the KCC from the newscard:

1. Year of its introduction (in rarest case)

2. Types of banks issuing KCC

3. Credit types extended under KCC

4. Sectors covered under KCC

What is Kisan Credit Card (KCC)?

  • KCC is a credit scheme introduced in August 1998 by banks to extend credit facilities to farmers.
  • This model scheme was prepared by the NABARD on the recommendations of R.V. GUPTA committee to provide term loans for agricultural needs
  • Participating institutions include all commercial banks, Regional Rural Banks, and state co-operative banks. The scheme has short term credit limits for crops and term loans.
  • KCC offering credit to the farmers is of two types: 1. Cash Credit 2. Term Credit (for allied activities such as pump sets, land development, plantation, drip irrigations).

Facilities under KCC

  • Credit card and passbook or credit card cum passbook provided to eligible farmers facilitate revolving cash credit facility.
  • Any number of withdrawals and repayments within a limit, which is fixed on the basis of operational land holding, cropping pattern and scale of finance can be made.
  • Each withdrawal has to be repaid within a maximum period of 12 months and the Card is valid for 3 to 5 years subject to annual review.
  • Conversion/reschedulement of loans is permissible in case of damage to crops due to natural calamities.
  • Crop loans disbursed under KCC Scheme for notified crops are covered under Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana, to protect farmers against loss of crop yield caused by natural calamities, pest attacks etc.

What’s’ in the bucket for Dairy Farmers?

  • Under the dairy cooperative movement, approximately 1.7 crore farmers are associated with 230 Milk Unions in the country.
  • In the first phase of this campaign, the target is to cover all farmers who are members of dairy cooperative societies and associated with different Milk Unions and who do not have KCC.
  • Although the general limit for KCC credit without collateral is Rs. 1.6 lakh, but for dairy farmers, it can be upto Rs.3 lakh.
  • This will ensure more credit availability for dairy farmers associated with Milk Unions as well as assuring repayment of loans to banks.

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[pib] Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PM-MSY) for boosting fisheries sector

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

Mains level : Fisheries sector of India

The Union Cabinet has approved the “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana”.

Practice question for Mains:

Q. Only after the Indian Independence, has fisheries together with agriculture been recognized as an important sector. Examine the scope & challenges of aquaculture in India.

About the PMMSY

  • The PMMSY aims to bring about the Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
  • With the scheme, highest ever investment of Rs. 20050 crores are being made in the fisheries sector.
  • It will be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.

Aims and objectives of PMMSY

  • Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
  • Enhancing of fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilization of land and water
  • Modernizing and strengthening of the value chain – post-harvest management and quality improvement
  • Doubling fishers and fish farmers incomes and generation of employment
  • Enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports
  • Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
  • Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Implementation strategy

The PMMSY will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

(a) Central Sector Scheme and

(b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme

  • Majority of the activities under the Scheme would be implemented with the active participation of States/UTs.
  • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
  • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

Back2Basics: Fisheries sector of India

  • Fisheries and aquaculture are an important source of food, nutrition, employment and income in India.
  • The sector provides livelihood to more than 20 million fishers and fish farmers at the primary level and twice the number along the value chain.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) of the fisheries sector in the national economy during 2018-19 stood at 1.24% of the total National GVA and 7.28% share of Agricultural GVA.
  • The sector has immense potential to double the fishers and fish farmers’ incomes as envisioned by government and usher in economic prosperity.
  • Fisheries sector in India has shown impressive growth with an average annual growth rate of 10.88% during the year from 2014-15 to 2018-19.

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What is African Swine Fever (ASF)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : African Swine Fever

Mains level : Not Much

  • Amid the coronavirus pandemic, another disease outbreak is affecting thousands of animals in Assam.
  • Since February, over 2,900 pigs have died in the state due to African Swine Fever (ASF), which does not affect humans but can be catastrophic for pigs.
  • This is the first time that an ASF outbreak has been reported in India.

As Flu is nowadays a lot in news, keep a tab on them for prelims. Be it the Swine Flue, African Swine Fever or even H5N1.

African Swine Fever (ASF)

  • ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute hemorrhagic fever.
  • The disease has a case fatality rate (CFR) of about 100 per cent.
  • Its routes of transmission include direct contact with an infected or wild pig (alive or dead), indirect contact through ingestion of contaminated material such as food waste, feed or garbage or through biological vectors such as ticks.
  • The disease is characterized by the sudden deaths of pigs.
  • Other manifestations of the disease include high fever, depression, anorexia, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin, vomiting and diarrhoea among others.

How did the current outbreak start?

  • As per the latest update issued by FAO, the current outbreak of ASF has affected China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Republic of Korea and Indonesia among others.
  • In China, the first ASF outbreak was confirmed in August 2018 and since then more than 1 million pigs have been culled in the country.
  • ASF came into India through Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh and then into Assam, the state with the highest population of pigs in the country.

How is ASF different from swine flu?

  • Swine influenza or swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs, which is caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pig populations.
  • While the swine flu causing virus leads to a high number of infections in pig herds, the disease is not as fatal and causes few deaths. Specific swine influenza vaccines are available for pigs.
  • The swine flu viruses are spread among pigs through close contact and through contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs.
  • Symptoms include fever, depression, coughing, discharge from the nose and eyes, eye redness or inflammation.

Vaccines availability

  • As of now, there is no approved vaccine, which is also a reason why animals are culled to prevent the spread of infection.
  • It is important that determination of ASF is made through laboratory testing and it is differentiated from Classical Swine Fever (CSF), whose signs may be similar to ASF, but is caused by a different virus for which a vaccine exists.
  • Even so, while ASF is lethal, it is less infectious than other animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.

What is the impact ASF will have on pig farmers?

  • Pig farmers in Assam describe the outbreak as a “double whammy” since the COVID-19 lockdown was already impacting sales negatively.
  • The outbreak has ruined the prospect of the Northeastern states as a hub for the export of pork products.

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Amid the Lockdown, How can we efficiently manage our Agriculture and Livestock sector

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Essential Services Maintenance Act.

Mains level : Paper 3- Managing the agriculture and livestock sector.

Context

Amid lockdown, we need an action plan to manage our agriculture, livestock sectors.

Need for an immediate action plan to manage the agriculture and livestock sector

  • The country produces around 52 crore litres of milk daily.
  • There are also 80 crore-odd live poultry, both broilers and layers, at any given time, supplying meat and eggs to consumers.
  • Link with the other producers: These birds and animals, in turn, support the livelihoods of poultry and dairy farmers, as well as those producing maize, soybean, mustard, groundnut, cotton and other coarse grains that are ingredients for livestock feed.
  • It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that farmers are able to keep their animals alive and market the crop that has been, or will be, harvested during the lockdown period.
  • We need an immediate action plan to manage our agriculture and livestock sectors in the interest of both producers and consumers.

Issue of implementation

  • Ensuring free movements: The first thing is to ensure free movement of farm produce, livestock feed and veterinary medicines.
  • Implementing the already taken decision: It is obvious that not all issues can be addressed overnight. But the minimum the government can do is to ensure ground-level implementation of already-taken decisions.
  • The problem of implementation: Many essential services, for instance, were kept out of the purview of the lockdown. Food, feed and agricultural inputs have been specifically notified as essential services.
  • But there are several problems at the level of implementation that are coming to notice.
  • The Centre has issued various directives/notifications, many of them brief and general in nature.
  • Many of these have either not reached the local authorities and police personnel or are not clearly worded. As a result, the smooth movement of essential items has been affected.
  • There are also reports of conflict between the police and citizens, including people involved in the transportation and delivery of food as well as inputs to farms.
  • Why good food supply line matters? The government must do to ensure that people don’t go hungry and the measures it must take to make sure people don’t crowd a few outlets, increasing the chances of the virus spreading.
  • The government has announced that the beneficiaries of the public distribution system can avail three months’ ration at one go.
  • The challenge of delivery: The challenge is to ensure that fair price shops deliver the provisions in an orderly manner and their supply lines remain intact.

Issue of poultry and maize farmers

  • Sharp fall in poultry items: In such times, prices of essential food items are known to shoot up. But in India, prices of food items like chicken meat and eggs have registered a sharp fall.
  • In Delhi’s Gazipur Mandi, for example, the price of broiler chicken has fallen from Rs 55/kg in January 2020 to Rs 24/kg in March.
  • This has also pushed the maize prices down as poultry is largely fed packaged maize.
  • The government may have to think of compensating poultry and maize farmers in due course.

Suggestions for improving the implementation issue

  • Issue a single notification: The Centre must issue a single notification relating to food items in a standard format and uniform language so that all ambiguities are removed.
  • This needs to be finalised after consultations with the stakeholders and the state governments can release it to officials working at the grassroots.
  • The focus should be to address the problems arising from restrictions on the transport — between and within states — of agri-produce and inputs related to them.
  • Invoke the ESMA: Another suggestion is that the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) be invoked for the delivery of all essential services relating to food to prevent disruption of supplies.
  • Home delivery option: Home (street) delivery of these provisions, to avoid crowding, is a good option.
  • Roping in civil society: This is also an occasion to rope in civil society. NGOs, resident welfare associations, religious organisations and paramilitary forces can be engaged for orderly and safe distribution of food — both pre-cooked and fresh.
  • NGOs with experience in food preparation and distribution, such as Akshaya Patra, could guide local authorities.
  • People involved in this endeavour should be provided with safety gears.
  • The challenge of supplying perishables: These perishables-like fruits, vegetables and milk- must be sold in a packaged form in mobile vans. The weekly markets need to be temporarily suspended lest they spread the virus.
  • Vegetable vendors can work with civil society organisations as well as e-commerce players to do this job in a safe manner.
  • Retail distribution lines: Retail distribution lines need to be seamlessly linked to wholesale supply lines.
  • How to manage rabi season procurement? Procurement operations for rabi crops are around the corner.
  • Training and safety measures: The FCI and other procuring agencies need to be trained about safety measures and supplied safety gear.
  • Providing incentives to farmers for staggered selling: Farmers could be given Rs 50/quintal per month as an incentive to stagger bringing their produce to the market — say after May 10.
  • They will also need to be screened, given training and equipped with safety gear.

Suggestions to prevent post-lockdown chaos

  • What will happen after the lockdown ends? Many plants are now shut or working at low capacity utilisation. Consumption by hotels and other institutions, too, is low. Nor is any export or import happening. But once the lockdown ends, there will be a rush to procure raw material, trucks and rail rakes.
  • Smooth recovery: Smooth recovery from the lockdown is as important as managing supplies during the lockdown.
  • Here are a few suggestions to ensure that the common man does not have to suffer hardships during and after the lockdown:
  • First– Place all food items, agri-inputs, packaging material and transport services under ESMA for a six-month period to prevent profiteering.
  • The MRP that was applicable in February should remain till October.
  • In the case of farm produce, it helps that we are looking at a bumper crop, which makes it all the more necessary to ensure its smooth marketing.
  • Second-Suspend APMC (agricultural produce market committee) laws for the next six months.
  • Traders with APMC licence are bound to act as cartels during rush hour, which will hurt both farmers and consumers.
  • Third-ESMA should apply to all utilities and transport services. State governments can make exemptions on a case to case basis: These exemptions should be subject to public scrutiny under the Right to Information Act.
  • The government should announce the above measures well in advance.

Conclusion

The government must start planning now to prevent post-lockdown chaos, especially profiteering in the event of shortages. Smooth recovery from the lockdown is as important as managing supplies during the lockdown.

 

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[pib] Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) Advisories

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PFZ

Mains level : Application based initiaitives by ISRO

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad has reported that Oceansat Satellite data from ISRO are used to prepare the PFZ advisories on the potential rich fishing areas and provide to the sea faring fishermen in all states.

Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ)

  • This is the first advisory service started by INCOIS. The backbone of this service is the real-time data for ocean color and SST provided by the OCEANSAT and NOAA respectively.
  • This service was started because there was a need to identify the potential fishing zones to help the fishermen to get better catch while they were at the sea.
  • This service was started by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the help of the Department of Space and several institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture.

How it works?

  • This service makes use of parameters such as sea surface temperature and chlorophyll content provided by NOAA-AVHRR and Oceancolor satellites.
  • Features such as oceanic fronts, Meandering Patterns, Eddies, Rings, Up Welling areas etc. are identified sites for fish accumulation.
  • These features can easily be identified from Sea Surface Temperature and Chlorophyll data.
  • The availability of Chlorophyll from OCEANSAT and MOdDIS has further enriched these advisories in the recent years.
  • Hence, PFZ advisories have helped the fishing community to locate the fishing zones with accuracy.

Special advisories for fisherman

  • Another feature of PFZ service is the generation of species-specific advisory to enable the fishermen folk to distinguish between the exploited and under-exploited species in the potential fishing zones.
  • This enables them to have sustainable fishery management by targeting only the under-exploited species in the fishing zones.
  • This approach enables them to avoid fishing the over-exploited species over and over again.

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SUTRA PIC India Programme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SUTRA PIC

Mains level : Protecting indigenous breed of bovines

 

The government has unveiled SUTRA PIC programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows.

SUTRA PIC

  • SUTRA PIC stands for Scientific Utilization Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows.
  • To be funded by multiple scientific ministries, the initiative, SUTRA PIC, is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It has the Department of Biotechnology, the CSIR, the Ministry for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy) among others and the Indian Council of Medical Research as partners.
  • It has five themes:
  1. Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows,
  2. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine and Health,
  3. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Applications,
  4. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food and Nutrition,
  5. Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items

Aims and objectives

The proposals under this theme aim to:

  • perform scientific research on the complete characterization of milk and milk products derived from Indian indigenous cows;
  • scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods;
  • development of standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cow

Other facts

  • In 2017, SEED constituted a National Steering Committee (NSC) for ‘Scientific Validation and Research on Panchgavya (SVAROP)’.
  • Panchgavya is an Ayurvedic panacea and is a mixture of five (pancha) products of the cow (gavya) — milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine.
  • Its proponents believe it can cure, or treat a wide range of ailments.

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[pib] ‘Apiary on Wheels’ Initiative

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ‘Apiary on Wheels’, Apiculture

Mains level : Apiculture sector of India


‘Apiary on Wheels’ was recently flagged off today by the Union Minister of MSME.

‘Apiary on Wheels’

  • It is a unique concept designed by KVIC for the easy upkeep and migration of Bee Boxes having live Bee colonies.
  • It is a platform which can carry 20 Bee Boxes from one place to another without any difficulty.
  • It is like an attachment which can be easily connected with a Tractor or a Trolley and may be pulled to any suitable destination.
  • Specially, in summers, the beekeepers usually adopted crude methods to feed the bees and many bees used to die in the process.
  • This concept of migration, cooling with the help of solar panels and sugar drips with zero risk to the lives of bees, will prevent any damages to the bee boxes or bee colonies and help produce quality honey.

How it works?

  • Two large wheels on either side of the Apiary and 4 separate compartments with independent doors, having 5 bee boxes each help the platform to remain intact without disturbing the live bee colonies.
  • It is also connected with a solar panel system which automatically triggers a fan inside the compartment as soon as the temperature reaches 35 degree centigrade or above.

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National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development

Mains level : Dairy sector of India

  • The Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has provided certain information in Parliament regarding the ongoing National Programme for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding.
  • The scheme is subsumed under Rashtriya Gokul Mission since December 2014.

National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development

  • The NPBBDD has been formulated by merging four ongoing schemes of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the dairy sector.
  • It was launched in Feb 2014.
  • This merger has been done to integrate milk production and dairying activities in a scientific and holistic manner to meet the increasing demand for milk in the country.

Components of the scheme

NPBBDD has the following three components.

  • National Programme for Bovine Breeding (NPBB)
  • National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) and
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Differences between all these schemes:

1) National Programme for Bovine Breeding

It aims-

  • To arrange quality Artificial Insemination services at farmers’ doorstep
  • To bring all breedable females under organized breeding through Artificial Insemination or natural service using germplasm of high genetic merits

2) National Programme for Dairy Development

It aims-

  • To create and strengthen infrastructure for the production of quality milk including cold chain infrastructure linking the farmer to the consumer
  • To strengthen dairy cooperative societies/Producers Companies at the village level
  • To increase milk production by providing technical input services like cattle-feed, and mineral mixture etc.

3) Rashtriya Gokul Mission

It aims-

  • To undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock.
  • To enhance milk production and productivity of indigenous bovines.
  • To upgrade non-descript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi.

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[pib] Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Cell Culture Vaccine

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Vaccine

Mains level : Animal husbandary sector of India

Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) released the Classical Swine Fever Vaccine (IVRI-CSF-BS) Technology developed by ICAR -Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI).

About the Vaccine

  • CSF is one of the most important diseases of pigs causing high mortality with annual loss of approx. Rs.4.299 billion.
  • A lapinized CSF vaccine (Weybridge strain, UK) is being used in India since 1964 for controlling the disease.
  • The vaccine is produced by sacrificing large numbers of rabbits for each batch.
  • In order to do away sacrificing of rabbits and increase the productivity, IVRI had earlier developed a cell culture CSF vaccine by adapting the lapinized vaccine virus in cell culture.
  • The vaccine virus has very high titre and lakhs of doses can be produced very easily in cell culture and country’s requirement can be easily fulfilled using this new vaccine.

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Sexed semen in Cattle breeding

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sexed Semen

Mains level : Livestocks breeding and their challenges

The Union Ministry for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries is planning to provide dairy farmers with ‘sexed semen’ for cattle for as cheap as Rs 100 per straw by 2020.

What is Sexed Semen?

  • Sexed semen is specially processed semen of bulls from which ‘Y’ chromosomes in sperm cells — which lead to the birth of a male calf — are either removed through a ‘sorting’ process or killed.
  • Semen which has only ‘X’ chromosomes can only ensure that a female calf is born.

Technology behind

  • The reproduction system of cattle is similar to humans.
  • Cows carry XX chromosomes while bull semen carries both X and Y.
  • If the egg fertilises with an ‘X’ chromosome, a female calf is born and if with ‘Y’, a male is born.
  • There are two techniques to produce sexed semen: One is the ‘sorting process’ in which ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosomes are separated. ‘X’ are retained and ‘Y’ discarded.
  • The other is in which ‘Y’ chromosomes are altogether killed.

Why is this method being used?

  • Considered a financial burden, male calves are either killed or abandoned on the roads by farmers as they do not give milk.
  • This had led to an increasing number of cattle roaming the streets, which has caused fatal road accidents as well.
  • Cows are also abandoned when they stop giving milk.
  • If a commercial farmer owns a hundred cows and even fifty of them give birth to male calves, he cannot afford to raise them. They become a burden.

Success rate of the sexed semen

  • The guarantee of a female calf being born is never 100 per cent. It can be up to 90 per cent.
  • In 10 per cent cases, a male calf might be born despite using sexed semen because even after sorting/killing, some Y chromosomes may pass.

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[pib] Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (NAIP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pashu Aadhaar

Mains level : Bovine productivity in India

The Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (N.A.I.P) which was recently launched by PM covering 600 chosen districts including aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog.

Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme

  • The NAIP is a campaign mode genetic upgradation program covering all breeds of bovines to enhance the milk production using low cost breeding technology.
  • It aims for improving genetic merit of milch animals with high quality seed.
  • The gestation period for getting the benefits from the AI bovine is approximately 3 years.

A mission mode project

  • The aim of the program is to inseminate over 1 crore bovines in 6 months.
  • The rate of Artificial Insemination is continuously increasing and has reached an average of 25,000 animals per day so far.
  • 8 Lakh Artificial Inseminations has been performed under this programme benefitting more than 3.7 lakh farmers as on 29th November, 2019.

Pashu Aadhaar

  • The NAIP also aims to ear-tag them with ‘PashuAadhaar’ which is a unique identification provided to the animals.
  • This will enable the Government to identify and track the animals uniquely with all details such as the breed, age, gender and owner details.
  • Every cow and buffalo under AI will be tagged and can be tracked through the Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) Database.

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20th Livestock Census

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 20th Livestock Census

Mains level : State of livestocks in India


  • The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying released the results of the latest livestock census, which provides headcount data of domesticated animals in the country.

Livestock Census

  • Under the livestock census, various species of animals possessed by households, household enterprises or non-household enterprises and institutions are counted at site — both in rural and urban areas.
  • In other words, it covers all domesticated animals in a given period of time.
  • India has been conducting livestock censuses periodically since 1919-20. The last livestock census was conducted in 2012.
  • This is the 20th one, started in October 2018. For the first time data has been collected online through tablet computers.

Which animals and birds are counted in this census?

  • The census tracks the population of various species of domesticated animals such as cattle, buffalo, mithun, yak, sheep, goat, pig, horse, pony, mule, donkey camel, dog, rabbit and elephant and poultry birds (fowl, duck, emu, turkeys, quail and other poultry birds).

What are the population trends for different kinds of cattle?

  • While the overall cattle population has increased by 0.8 per cent between 2012-19, the population of indigenous cattle has come down by 6 per cent — from 151 million to 142.11 million.
  • However, this pace of decline is much slower than the 9 per cent decline between 2007 and 2012.
  • In contrast, the population of the total exotic/crossbred cattle has increased by almost 27 per cent to 50.42 million in 2019.

How do the data show an eastward shift of cattle, as mentioned earlier?

  • West Bengal has emerged as the state with the largest number of cattle in 2019 followed by Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • In 2012, Uttar Pradesh had the largest number of cattle but this population has come down by almost 4 per cent since.
  • The cattle population is also down in Madhya Pradesh (4.42%), Maharashtra (10.07%) and Odisha (15.01%).
  • States that registered the maximum increases between 2012 and 2019 were West Bengal (15.18%), Bihar (25.18%) and Jharkhand (28.16%).

What are the implications of the decline in the numbers of indigenous cattle?

  • Due to continuous fall in productivity, indigenous breeds of cattle have become liabilities for farmers, forcing them to desert the unproductive cows.
  • Farmers find other animals such as buffaloes, goats and sheep much more productive.
  • Unlike cows, if these animals become unproductive, they can be sold and slaughtered for further processing.
  • Experts believe this could have long term health and environmental impacts because the milk of indigenous breed has higher nutritional value than that of crossbreeds.
  • Moreover, there is a danger of losing these indigenous breeds, which have been developed and sustained by generations from time immemorial.

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India declared free of Avian Influenza

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Avian flu

Mains level : Zoonotic diseases and their prevention

  • India has been declared free of Avian Influenza (H5N1).
  • The status will last only till another outbreak is reported. India was last declared free of the disease in 2017.

How H5N1 affects humans?

  • Avian Influenza was first reported from Hongkong in 1997. Since then, there have been many outbreaks across the world. India too has had multiple outbreaks since 2005.
  • The symptoms of an H5N1 infection in humans include mild upper respiratory tract infection (fever and cough), early sputum production and rapid progression to severe pneumonia.
  • It can lead to sepsis with shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome and even death.

Significance of the declaration

  • This declaration is important not just from the poultry industry standpoint, but also because humans can contact the disease from animals though the pathogen is not capable of sustained human-to-human transmission.
  • Humans can be infected with avian, swine and other zoonotic influenza viruses, such as avian influenza virus subtypes A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2) and swine influenza virus subtypes A(H1N1), A(H1N2) and A(H3N2),” says WHO.

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[pib] National Animal Disease Control Programme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FMD

Mains level : About the initiative

  • Prime Minister will be launching National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis today.

National Animal Disease Control Programme

  • The programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis is a 100% centrally funded programme, with a total outlay of Rs.12,652 crore from 2019 to 2024.
  • It aims to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by 2025 with vaccination and eventual eradication by 2030.

 About FMDs

  • Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that has a significant economic impact.
  • The disease affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
  • Intensively reared animals are more susceptible to the disease than traditional breeds.
  • The disease is rarely fatal in adult animals, but there is often high mortality in young animals due to myocarditis or, when the dam is infected by the disease, lack of milk.
  • FMD is characterised by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves.
  • The disease causes severe production losses, and while the majority of affected animals recover, the disease often leaves them weakened and debilitated.
  • FMD is found in all excretions and secretions from infected animals. Notably, these animals breathe out a large amount of aerosolised virus, which can infect other animals via the respiratory or oral routes.
  • The virus may be present in milk and semen for up to 4 days before the animal shows clinical signs of disease.

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[op-ed snap] Marine Fisheries Bill addresses a regulatory void. It needs cooperative federalism

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Marine fisheries bill

CONTEXT

A Marine Fisheries Regulation and Management (MFRM) Bill 2019 is in the public domain for discussion.

Background

  1. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements, India has obligations to frame laws. 
  2. The annual fishery potential of the country’s EEZ is about 5 million tonnes. 

UNCLOS

  1. Under UNCLOS, the sea and resources in the water and the seabed are classified into three zones — the internal waters (IW), the territorial sea (TS) and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 
  2. The IW is on the landward side of the baseline including gulfs and small bays. Coastal states treat IW like land. 
  3. TS extends outwards to 12 nautical miles from the baseline — coastal nations enjoy sovereignty over airspace, sea, seabed, and subsoil and all living and non-living resources therein. 
  4. EEZ extends outwards to 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Coastal nations have sovereign rights for exploration, exploiting, conserving and managing all the natural resources therein.
  5. Since fisheries is a state subject, fishing in the IW and TS come within the purview of the states concerned. 
  6. Other activities in the TS and activities, including fishing beyond the TS up to the limit of the EEZ, are in the Union list. 
  7. No Central government, so far, has framed laws covering the entire EEZ. 
  8. The Bill attempts to make up for this. 

WTO

  1. The Bill is also a response to discussions on fisheries’ subsidies at the WTO since the Doha Round of 2001. 
  2. India has been defending the rights of developing nations for special and differential treatment. 
  3. Developed countries contend that nations without laws to manage fisheries in their respective EEZs are not serious about unregulated fishing. 
  4. MFRM Bill is India’s response to such sentiments.

Provisions – analysis

Positives

  1. The Bill prohibits fishing by foreign fishing vessels, thus nationalising our EEZ. 
  2. Bigger vessels registered and licensed under state departments will need a permit to fish. This is a welcome measure to manage the fishing sector.
  3. The Bill respects the jurisdiction of our coastal states over the TS.
  4. It proposes social security for fish workers and calls for the protection of life at sea during severe weather events. 

Challenges

  1. An Indian fishing vessel that wants to fish in the EEZ, outside the TS, must obtain a permit. This requirement has been contested by small-scale operators.
  2. There is a faulty assumption that only large-scale vessels fish outside the TS. Thousands of small-scale fishing crafts regularly venture into such areas.
  3. It is not congruent with important regional fishery agreements. It is incomplete compared to the regulations in other coastal nations. 

Way ahead

  1. Exemption clauses to safeguard the livelihoods of small scale fishermen should be incorporated in the Bill.
  2. State governments, fisher associations and the fishing industry representatives should argue for greater “cooperative federalism”.
  3. Cooperative governance between them over different territories (IW, TS, and EEZ) is key to the sustainable management of marine fisheries.
  4. Fisheries should now ideally go into the Concurrent List. 
  5. Small-scale fish workers should demand to make the entire IW and TS completely free of trawling using the FAO/UN Small-Scale Fisheries. 

Back2Basics

The Doha Development Round or Doha Development Agenda is the trade-negotiation round of WTO which commenced in 2001. Its objective was to lower trade barriers around the world and facilitate increased global trade.

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Now, also an Aadhaar card for cattle and buffaloes

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pashu Aadhaar

Mains level : Animal husbandry and using technology

NEWS

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. 

Facts

  1. The nodal agency and repository for this – Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health or INAPH is the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
  2. The similarities with Aadhaar are:
    1. INAPH too assigns a unique random identification number to each animal
    2. It captures a host of data and information useful for the effective and scientific management of India’s livestock resources
    3. It will be the biggest global database of animals when fully captured
  3. The first phase of the INAPH project would cover the country’s 94 million-odd productive “in milk” female cow and buffalo population.
  4. It covers all indigenous, nondescript, crossbred as well as exotic milch animals.
  5. The exercise will subsequently be extended to all bovines, including males, calves and heifers, old and stray animals.
  6. Each animal will be provided a thermoplastic polyurethane ear tag bearing a 12-digit UID.
  7. 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

  1. Low productivity, poor animal health, the prevalence of economically debilitating diseases, and genome selection based on non-scientific and anecdotal methods

Objective

  1. Enable proper identification of animals and traceability of their products, be it milk or meat
  2. Farmers, processors, animal husbandry department officials and healthcare professionals can devise appropriate strategies for livestock management
  3. A major cause of zoonotic diseases and challenges in addressing them today is the absence of animal identification and traceability mechanisms
  4. 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
  5. The products obtained from healthy or premium animals can be separated from those originating from diseased or nondescript ones
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

  1. 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.
  2. More efficient nutrition management through ration balancing can be achieved based on information on the feeding status of each animal.
  3. 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.

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Antibiotic Colistin banned in animal food industry

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Colistin

Mains level : AMR and its hazards in India

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued an order prohibiting the manufacture, sale and distribution of colistin and its formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements.

What is Colistin?

  • According to the WHO, Colistin is a “reserve” antibiotic, which means it is supposed to be considered a “last-resort” option in treatment and used only in the most severe circumstances, when all other alternatives have failed.
  • However, this strong antibiotic has been “highly misused” in India’s livestock industry to prevent diseases and as promote growth of such animals.
  • Medical professionals have been alarmed by the number of patients who have exhibited resistance to the drug.
  • Most are not aware of the presence of colistin, since it comes mixed in the feed. A bulk of colistin (nearly 95%) is imported from China.

Alarm for India

  • A 2017 global study on antibiotic use in farm animals projected the consumption of antibiotics through animal sources to nearly double during 2013-2030.
  • This means India’s AMR problem is expected to worsen due to the consumption of antibiotics through animal sources.
  • The study ranked India the fourth largest consumer of antibiotics in food animals globally after China, the United States and Brazil.

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Sahiwal Cattle

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sahiwal breed of Cattles

Mains level : Not Much


  • The Sahiwal migrated to Kenya around 80 years ago from the Subcontinent and is now considered as the backbone of the Kenya’s milk production.
  • The breed is the main source of earning for many dairy farmers and is also helping adaption in the face of climate change.

Sahiwal Cattle

  • The British, who ruled both British India (today’s India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) as well as Kenya, brought the Sahiwal breed to Kenya in the 1930s for increasing milk production to help their army.
  • The origin of the Sahiwal is the similarly named town (known in the British Era as Montgomery) in today’s Pakistani province of Punjab.
  • It is commonly of a reddish dun colour, with more of a dark brownish colour around the hump and the neck.
  • Also, during the 1930s, the British introduced the Red Sindhi breed of cow in Tanganyika, their colony to the south of Kenya (today’s Tanzania).
  • According to the International Livestock Research Institute, the present Sahiwal cattle in Kenya are descendants of some 60 bulls and 12 cows imported between 1939 and 1963.

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[pib] Establishment of ‘Gokul Grams’ Under Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Mains level : Promoting indigenous breeds for animal husbandry


  • Funds have been mobilized under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) for setting up of 21 Gokul Grams as Integrated Cattle Development Centres.

About Rashtriya Gokul Mission

  • The RGM has been launched by the Government for conservation and development of indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner.
  • The mission envisages establishment of integrated cattle development centres „Gokul Grams to develop indigenous breeds including upto 40% nondescript breeds.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development, with an outlay of Rs 500 crore during for three years from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Objectives

  1. Development and conservation of indigenous breeds
  2. Breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds to improve their genetic makeup and increase the stock;
  3. Enhancement of milk production and productivity;
  4. Upgradation of nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi and
  5. Distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.

Implementing Agency:

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission is being implemented through “State Implementing Agencies (SIA) viz Livestock Development Boards.
  • All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development are “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO‟s, Cooperative Societies.

Gokul Gram

  • These are Indigenous Cattle Centres and will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds.
  • They’ll be established- a) in native breeding tracts and b) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.
  • A dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.
  • Self sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption and sale of animal products.
  • Also function as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders.

For additional readings, navigate to the page:

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

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Explained: One Health Philosophy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : One Health Concept

Mains level : Livestock health issues


Frequent Outbreaks of Zoonotic Diseases

  • Not so long ago, the widespread prevalence of avian influenza in poultry, or bird flu as it commonly became known, created nationwide panic resulting in the culling of millions of poultry birds.
  • It was concern for human health that prompted the extreme reaction and subsequent establishment of protocols; containment of avian influenza is managed quite effectively now.
  • Similarly in 2003, SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome emanated suddenly in China and vanished soon.

Followed by hues and panic

  • These outbreaks culminated emergency response that included extreme measures like travel bans and restrictions.
  • In both cases, panic spread much faster than the virus.
  • Besides drawing a response from governments, these events also brought forth the hitherto forgotten philosophy of One Health.
  • This idea recognizes inter-connectivity among human health, the health of animals, and the environment.

The One Health concept

  • The World Organization of Animal Health, commonly known as OIE (an abbreviation of its French title), summarizes the One Health concept.
  • It says that as “human health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist”.
  • Circa 400 BC, Hippocrates in his treatise On Airs, Waters and Places had urged physicians that all aspects of patients’ lives need to be considered including their environment; disease was a result of imbalance between man and environment.
  • So One Health is not a new concept, though it is of late that it has been formalized in health governance systems.

Why rise in such outbreaks?

  • As human populations expand, it results in greater contact with domestic and wild animals, providing more opportunities for diseases to pass from one to the other.
  • Climate change, deforestation and intensive farming further disrupt environment characteristics, while increased trade and travel result in closer and more frequent interaction, thus increasing the possibility of transmission of diseases.
  • According to the OIE, 60% of existing human infectious diseases are zoonotic i.e. they are transmitted from animals to humans; 75% of emerging infectious human diseases have an animal origin.
  • Of the five new human diseases appearing every year, three originate in animals. If this is not scary enough, 80% biological agents with potential bio-terrorist use are zoonotic pathogens.
  • It is estimated that zoonotic diseases account for nearly two billion cases per year resulting in more than two million deaths — more than from HIV/AIDS and diarrhoea.
  • One-fifth of premature deaths in poor countries are attributed to diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

Urgent care needed

  • Humans require a regular diet of animal protein.
  • This calls for strict health surveillance to incorporate domestic animals, livestock and poultry too.
  • Thus, loss of food animals on account of poor health or disease too becomes a public health issue even though there may be no disease transmission, and we lose 20% of our animals this way.

 India: The forerunner of global health

  • The WHO was set up in 1948 to, among other objectives; promote cooperation to control human diseases.
  • India, a founding member, also hosted the first meeting of WHO’s South East Asia Regional Committee in October that year.
  • The cooperation and collaboration among nations to control and contain animal diseases is a sine qua non for achieving the WHO objectives.
  • This has been recognised as early as in 1924 when OIE was established to fight animal diseases at the global level.
  • India has been at the forefront of both these apex bodies, though for different reasons.

India is at the forefront

  • The size of India’s human and animal populations is almost the same; 121 crore people (2011 Census) and 125.5 crore livestock and poultry.
  • A network of 1.90 lakh health institutions in the government sector form the backbone of health governance, supported by a large number of private facilities.
  • On the other hand, only 65,000 veterinary institutions tend to the health needs of 125.5 crore animals; and this includes 28,000 mobile dispensaries and first aid centres with bare minimum facilities.

Need for a robust animal health system

  • Private sector presence in veterinary services is close to being nonexistent.
  • Unlike a physician, a veterinarian is always on a house call on account of the logistic challenge of transporting livestock to the hospital, unless they are domestic pets.
  • There could not be a stronger case for reinventing the entire animal husbandry sector to be able to reach every livestock farmer, not only for disease treatment but for prevention and surveillance to minimize the threat to human health.
  • Early detection at animal source can prevent disease transmission to humans and introduction of pathogens into the food chain. So a robust animal health system is the first and a crucial step in human health.

Way Forward

  • Developing countries like India have much greater stake in strong One Health systems on account of agricultural systems resulting in uncomfortably close proximity of animals and humans.
  • This builds a strong case for strengthening veterinary institutions and services.
  • The most effective and economical approach is to control zoonotic pathogens at their animal source.
  • It calls not only for close collaboration at local, regional and global levels among veterinary, health and environmental governance, but also for greater investment in animal health infrastructure.

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[op-ed snap] A new India for farmers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : These hard times are asking for innovative ways to secure farmers livelihoods.

CONTEXT

After half a century, India is under a major locust attack from breeding grounds in Balochistan, Pakistan. Other international tidings are also not favourable for Indian farmers. In 2014, crude prices had hit rock bottom and the government received a bonanza of a few lakh crore. Circumstances have changed today: India’s finances are in a perilous state and we face the spectre of a drought.

1.US-China trade dispute – The escalation of the US-China trade dispute is pushing the world towards a prolonged economic stagnation.

2.Crude prices – President Donald Trump is also engineering a conflict in the strait of Hormuz to jack up crude prices.

3.Pressure on India to import US agriculture commodities  – In the aftermath of the imposition of duties on US agriculture produce by China, there are fears that the US government will pressure India to import US agriculture commodities like livestock feed, chicken and milk products — and, the country will succumb to such pressure.

4.Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – On the eastern front, the commerce ministry is all prepared to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will commit the country to become a gateway for Asian agriculture imports. We are also being sucked into a similar treaty with the EU.

5.Climate change and GDP-led policy – But now all these combine with a system that fails to value climate change-related externalities. Besides, they also persist with the GDP-led policy modelling. All this is literally killing us.

  • The government’s inflation-targeting priorities obviate all possibilities of it passing all of the escalating costs (diesel, LPG, food) to the consumers.
  • The complexities in MSP procurement and fertiliser prices will compound the morass of stagnating food prices.
7.PM Kisan –
  • “PM Kisan” is a wonderful initiative of the government, but there is an apprehension that it may be funded by withdrawing resources from existing agriculture initiatives and programmes.
  • Farmers have shown repeatedly that they are easily distracted from livelihood issues. They must now be prepared for a precarious future.

 

Vision for government

  •  Governments, notorious for rolling out policies that can’t be implemented, generate truckloads of paperwork but are loathe to document failure.
  • Till such time the system doesn’t record failure and establish accountability, framing new policies would be like playing a game of dice.
  • Case Study – For example, the policy on food parks has failed and private investments in the agriculture value chain remain elusive. The bureaucracy, having only dealt in food shortages, is clueless on how to respond to food surpluses and fluctuations while farmers have been quick to respond to market signals. This has created new problems, which lead to unprecedented number of farmer agitations and suicides.

Ways to improve farmer livelihoods

  • To improve farmer livelihoods, it’s absolutely essential to quickly resolve issues of the animal husbandry sector.
  • Incidentally, 80 per cent of the stray cattle on the roads today are Holstein, Jersey and basically crossbreeds.
  • A clear distinction can be made between these foreign breeds and the pure desi .This is how the New India can be visualised.

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Ongole Cattle Breed

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ongole Cattle

Mains level : Promoting indigenous breeds for animal husbandry

  • The Vice-President has stressed for promoting Ongole cattle breed in a recent speech.

Ongole Cattle

  • Ongole cattle are an indigenous cattle breed that originates from Prakasam District in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The breed derives its name from the place the breed originates from, Ongole.
  • The Ongole breed of cattle Bos Indicus, has a great demand as it is said to possess resistance to both foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease.

What’s so special about this breed?

  • Cattle breeders use the fighting ability of the bulls to choose the right stock for breeding in terms of purity and strength.
  • Ongole cattle are known for their toughness, rapid growth rate, and natural tolerance to tropical heat and disease resistance.
  • It was perhaps the first Indian breed of cattle to gain worldwide recognition.

Global Prominence

  • Ongole bulls have gone as far as America, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Indonesia, West Indies, Australia, Fiji, Mauritius, Indo-China and Philippines.
  • The Brahmana bull in America is an off-breed of the Ongole.
  • The population of Ongole off-breed in Brazil is said to number several million.
  • The famous Santa Gertrudis breed developed in Texas, USA have Ongole blood.
  • It has gained global prominence, particularly in Brazil which imported barely hundred animals and produced multiple superior breeds like the world famous Zebu.

Used for Bull Fights

  • These cattle are commonly used in bull fights in Mexico and some parts of East Africa due to their strength and aggressiveness.
  • They also participate in traditional bull fights in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

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Livestock Census

Note4Students

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.

Loopholes

  • 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.

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[pib] National Cow Commission

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Economics of animal-rearing

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mandate of the National Cow Commission

Mains level: Various issues associated with animal rearing and role of animals in the agricultural sector in India


 News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for establishment of National Cow Commission (Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog) for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

  1. The commission will work in collaboration with other government institutions working on research in the fields such as breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure and biogas.
  2. The commission will be tasked with providing a framework for cow conservation and development programmes.
  3. The setting up of Aayog will lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
  4. It will result in increased growth of livestock sector which is more inclusive, benefitting women, and small and marginal farmers.

Impact

The creation of this Aayog will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.

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A paper sensor that can detect freshness of milk

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievement of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ALP test

Mains level: Working and utility of the quality test


News

  • Scientists at IIT Guwahati have developed a simple paper kit that can test freshness of milk and tell how well it has been pasteurized.

Why such move?

  1. Milk is highly perishable and prone to action of enzymes and microorganisms inherently present in it.
  2. Although pasteurization, freezing and preservation using additives are widely used to prevent spoilage, perishability of milk is still a concern.
  3. There is no easy way to know if milk is fresh or stale or how effective is the pasteurization.
  4. Being a widely consumed food, the safety of milk is of prime concern to consumers.
  5. Tests used in dairies and dairy industries are time consuming and need sophisticated equipment like spectrophotometers.
  6. The new detection kit could make testing easy and fast.

Paper Kit

  1. A milk enzyme, Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), is considered to be an indicator of milk quality because its presence even after pasteurization indicates presence of microbes that may not have been rendered inactive with pasteurization.
  2. Researchers used ordinary filter paper to prepare the detector.
  3. The filter paper was cut into small discs using office punch and impregnated with chemical probes that preferentially react with ALP.
  4. The ‘probes’ used are antibodies that specifically bind to ALP.
  5. When ALP comes into contact with the probe, it turns white paper disc into a coloured one.

How it works?

  1. The paper discs are soaked in 4-carboxybenzene diazonium solution and then chemically treated to expose-COOH groups on the diazonium.
  2. The -COOH groups then attach to NH2 groups on anti-ALP probe molecules.
  3. Thus the anti-ALP probes are fixed on paper.
  4. When a drop of milk is poured on the tiny paper disc, the ALP in milk reacts with probes, resulting in change of colour.
  5. The colour change on paper discs is then photographed by a smartphone camera and images processed to obtain corresponding colour values.
  6. These values are then compared with standard data stored in the phone.  Thus not only the presence of ALP could be detected but the amount of it in milk could also be measured.

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