Q . With respect to the 20th Livestock census, discuss on India’s focus on the indigenous breed. Analyze the success of such a mission and measures for its improvement.  (15 marks, 250 words, GS-3)



  • Starting with India’s position in Livestock, Livestock Census and its components.
  • In the next part, inference of Livestock Census.
  • Measures were taken by the Government for Livestock.
  • The way forward for further improvement in the concluding para.

India is 2nd in Global Livestock population as per FAO report. Today’s livestock production has changed from a resource-driven activity bound to local conditions and environments to one driven by demand, which is typically separate from local geographical or other constraints.

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has released the 20th Livestock Census report recently. The Livestock Census has been conducted in the country periodically since 1919-20. Since then it has been conducted once every 5 years. It covers all domesticated animals and their headcounts. 

The household-level data through online transmission from the field has been used for the first time in 20th Livestock Census. The census is beneficial not just for policymakers but also for agriculturists, traders, entrepreneurs, dairying industry and masses in general.

The total Livestock population is 535.78 million in the country showing an increase of 4.6% over Livestock Census-2012. The increase is mainly driven by a sharp increase in cross-bred cattle and higher female indigenous cattle population. A decline of 6% in the total indigenous cattle population has been observed. India’s indigenous cattle numbers continue to decline, notwithstanding the government’s efforts to promote conservation of desi breeds through the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM). 

Indigenous cattle, in India, are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts. The potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous breeds of India through professional farm management and superior nutrition is immense. For this it is essential to promote conservation and development of indigenous breeds. The Rashtriya Gokul Mission aims to conserve and develop Indigenous Breeds in a focused and scientific manner.

The Mission aims to establish Gokul Grams, Field Performance Recording and Gopalan Sangh. It also incorporates awards and incentives to farmers and breeders for maintaining elite animals of indigenous breed. It also focuses on organizing milk yielding competition and training programmes for farmers.

Indigenous breeds are important. Indigenous cattle are well known for their quality of heat tolerance and ability to withstand extreme climatic conditions. Indigenous animals playing crucial role in the national economy through supply of draught animal power, milk, cow dung and cow urine. Some of the indigenous breeds have enormous potential to become high yielding commercial milch animals under optimal farm management.

The urgency for protection and conservation of indigenous breeds cannot be over emphasised. For instance breeds like Punganur, Vechur and Krishna Valley are rapidly declining warranting immediate attention.

The government’s decision to import frozen semen of Gir bulls from Brazil incorporating shades of both cultural sentiment and the hard science of cattle breeding, is another welcome step. Promoting youth and farmers to incorporate agrobiodiversity is a direction towards stability and universal nutritious food coverage.


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