Animal Breeding | Parshottam Rupala: City dwellers must be connected to the sector, says Parshottam Rupala, Minister of Fisheries, Livestock and Dairy

Parshottam Rupala, Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy talks about connecting urban youth with the sector to bring about a paradigm shift in the already evolving field. In conversation with
Shambavi Anand, he talks about supporting entrepreneurs who come forward to set up cow hostels in and around metropolitan cities. Excerpts:

This year’s economic survey indicates that livestock is a major contributor to farmers’ income. What are the department’s main areas of intervention to revitalize the sector?

Technological advancement, home delivery of healthcare facilities and improvement and improvement of the breed are the main objectives to bring about a paradigm shift in the livestock sector and dairy industry in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a year before the release of the Covid vaccine, had launched a central program of Rs 13,500 crore to control livestock diseases, especially foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis which are common among livestock – cow, bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats and pigs.

The livestock sector in our country has been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.15% from 2014-15 to 2019-2020. This CAGR is higher than other sectors like manufacturing or growing in agriculture.

What are the main innovations/initiatives that the ministry is taking to advance the cause of increasing farmers’ incomes which has been a priority for this government?

The extension of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) benefits to all eligible farmers and aquaculturists in the country is one of the major achievements of our government. According to the Department of Financial Services, 11,02,766 applications were received, of which 10,54,933 were accepted and 4,28,955 sanctioned. This data is as of April 1.

We hear about innovations from start-ups in the field of gaushalas, animal feed, etc. Does the ministry partner with such new ventures?

The central government will support all entrepreneurs and private actors to establish cow hostels in and around metropolitan cities to enable city dwellers living in tight spaces to own cows. Private companies or entrepreneurs can set up hostels for cows. City dwellers who live in multi-storey buildings or in restricted areas but wish to own cows can put their cattle in the inns built outside the cities. A sustainable business model such as selling extra milk and related products can be imagined. There should be cameras on the cow and the owner can monitor the animal.

The idea is to connect people living in urban areas to animal husbandry and dairy production.

There was talk of increasing food processing and adding value to fish-related products. Has the ministry launched any new projects in this area?

The fishing sector plays an important role in the Indian economy. It provides livelihoods to over 2.8 million fish farmers directly and indirectly. India ranks fourth in global seafood trade, contributing 4% to global seafood exports. In 2021-22, marine product exports stood at a record high of 7, $74 billion (Rs 58,929 crore) from $5.96 billion in 2020-21. From 2015 to date, the government has invested Rs 32,572,000 under three major programs for fisheries: Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) and the Blue Revolution. The total budget allocation of Rs 2118.47 crore has been made for the year 2022-23 against Rs 1220 crore in 2021-22 for the department.

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