The government has appealed to State governments to use Central funds in projects under the animal husbandry sector while pointing out that some of them are not fully utilising the allocation.

Addressing an event on Saturday in Delhi, to mark ‘World Veterinary Day’, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Sanjeev Kumar Balyan highlighted that the budget allocation of this ministry has increased in the last few years particularly after the creation of a separate ministry out of Agriculture Ministry.

An outlay of ₹12,500 crore has been announced for tackling foot and mouth disease and brucellosis, he said. “We (Centre) do not spend money. States do it. We provide funds to States for undertaking projects in this sector. The vaccination process is under the Centre and 100 per cent funded by the Central government,” Balyan said.

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“It’s very unfortunate that in the last 2 years, animal husbandry departments in (many) States have not been able to utilise Central funds. Every year, we have to surrender funds allocated under the Budget,” Balyan said.

The Ministers and bureaucrats in State governments should see how to enhance the spending capacity for effective implementation of the programmes, he said. Even in the last financial year, the budget amount was not fully utilised, he added. “States are not able to utilise funds despite repeated request,” Balyan said.

He also said there is an inferiority complex among bureaucrats and Ministers in State governments, who have been given charge of the animal husbandry department and attributed it as the reason for lack of enthusiasm to spend the funds.

The actual Budget of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying was ₹2,584.47 crore in 2021-22 against the Budget Estimate (BE) of ₹3,101.98 crore that year. Similarly, the revised estimate (RE) of 2022-23 for the Department has been cut to ₹3,105.17 crore from ₹3,918.84 crore in BE. Still, allocation during 2023-24 has been kept higher at ₹4,327.85 crore.

The ‘World Veterinary Day’ honours the veterinary profession every year on the last Saturday of April.

Livestock Census

Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala stressed on registration of birth and death of livestock for having real-time data. He said the government conducts ‘Livestock Census’ regularly, but there is no provision currently for registration of birth and death similar to human being.

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There should be some scientific way to count birth-death in the livestock sector as real-time data will benefit all stakeholders and help achieve higher growth, the minister said. As per the Census 2019, the total livestock population stood at 536.76 million in the country.

Rupala also highlighted the importance of animal husbandry in India and said this profession must have started before farming activities. He noted that India is the largest milk producer in the world and the value of milk output is pegged at around ₹9-9.5 lakh crore annually, higher than the combined value of wheat and rice.