Cabinet to Approve Animal Health, Dairy, and Conservation 100-Day Action Plan

The Cabinet is poised to approve a comprehensive 100-day action plan centered around improving animal health, fostering dairy farming, and promoting conservation measures. This plan encompasses the launch of three pivotal schemes: the revamped Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), the Animal Health System Support for One Health (AHSSOH), and a convergence framework for the National Fodder Mission.

These initiatives are designed to tackle pressing challenges faced by the animal husbandry sector, such as limited access to feed and fodder, particularly during the summer months; declining livestock health, which hampers milk productivity; and the vulnerability of indigenous breeds due to climate change. The government aims to attract more farmers to dairy farming through these measures.

The implementation of these three schemes entails a significant investment of approximately ₹8,000 crore. The convergence plan for the National Fodder Mission will bring together the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development to enhance feed and fodder availability through increased production, storage, and processing. This will involve the cultivation of additional dry and green fodder on 10,500 hectares of land.

The AHSSOH, a component of the animal health initiative, will prioritize animal health to mitigate antimicrobial resistance. This is particularly crucial as green fodder scarcity during summers and livestock illnesses can lead to productivity losses.

The revamped RGM scheme will focus on the development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds, making milk production more profitable for farmers. This will involve the establishment of breeder associations in each state and union territory, with increased private sector participation. Breeder farms will be created to facilitate artificial insemination and embryo transfer for genetic improvement.

The revised RGM, through the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), proposes genetic upgradation through in-vitro fertilization, sex-sorted semen, and genomic selection using genomic chips. These measures aim to enhance productivity and make milk production more lucrative for farmers. The budget allocation for this initiative is estimated at ₹600 crore, subject to Cabinet approval.

The convergence framework for the National Fodder Mission will be implemented as part of the government’s existing National Livestock Mission. This will expand fodder cultivation on 10,500 hectares of non-forest, non-arable land, with the potential to produce 52,500 tonnes of fodder. Assistance will be provided for the production of high-quality fodder seeds, and storage and processing facilities will be augmented with an investment of ₹300 crore.

The third component of the 100-day action plan, AHSSOH, will focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals. This initiative aims to address the overuse of antibiotics, which can lead to resistance and render animals unresponsive to traditional treatments. The AHD will conduct research to develop alternative solutions that have antibiotic properties but do not promote resistance.

The estimated cost of the AHSSOH is approximately ₹1,230 crores, and it is ready for Cabinet consideration. The approvals for all three schemes will be sought with the formation of the new Cabinet.

These initiatives are expected to have a substantial impact on the animal husbandry sector, improving the health and productivity of livestock, enhancing dairy farming practices, and conserving indigenous breeds. They also aim to address the challenges of feed and fodder availability, particularly during periods of scarcity.

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