Agriculture and Rural Development Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries

Set up a National Cattle Development Board to implement a programme for the improvement of indigenous livestock breeds.

In Progress
Last Updated: Tuesday 03 April 2018
Monday 28 July 2014Press Information Bureau

Cattle rearing has been a traditional livelihood in India and is closely linked to agricultural economy. India with 199 million cattle has 14.5% of the world cattle population. Of this, 83% i.e. 166 million are indigenous. Most of the indigenous cattle (about 80%) are non-descript and only 20% belong to breeds recognized by the National Bureau of Genetic Resources. The cattle genetic resource of India is represented by 37 well recognized indigenous breeds and there are 13 recognized buffalo breeds. Indigenous cattle in India are robust and resilient and are particularly suited to the climate and environment of their respective breeding tracts. They are endowed with qualities of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases and the ability to thrive under extreme climatic stress and less than optimal nutrition.

The Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been initiated by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries since December 2014, for the development and conservation of indigenous breeds of cattle. This Scheme is crucial for the upliftment of rural poor, as more than 80% low-producing indigenous animals are with small and marginal farmers, and landless labours. The Scheme is important for enhancing milk production and productivity of bovines to meet growing demand of milk and making dairying more remunerative to the poor farmers of the country. The Scheme is leading to multiplication of elite animals of indigenous breeds in an exponential manner.

Following are the major components of the scheme:

  • Development and conservation of indigenous breeds;

  • Strengthening of field Artificial Insemination (AI) network;

  • Manpower development;

  • Extension activities; and

  • National Mission on Bovine Productivity.

The Department has taken the following steps - through the Rashtriya Gokul Mission - to protect indigenous bovine breeds in the country:

  • Extension of AI coverage;

  • Strengthening LN storage and transport system;

  • Skill development of AI technicians;

  • Field Performance Recording (FPR);

  • High genetic merit bulls for AI;

  • Award to Farmers ("Gopal Ratna") and Breeders' Societies ("Kamdhenu"), AI technicians, veterinarians, and States;

  • Establishment of "Gokul Gram";

  • Identification and issue of Health Cards to 88 million in milk bovines;

  • Establishment of 50 ETT and IVF laboratories;

  • Sex-sorted semen production of indigenous breeds; and

  • Genomic selection of indigenous breeds.

From 2014-15 to 2018-19, the Government has earmarked the following funds for the Rastriya Gokul Mission:

  • 2014-15: Rs. 159.40 crores;

  • 2015-16: Rs. 81.77 crores;

  • 2016-17: Rs. 118.75 crores;

  • 2017-18 (RE): Rs. 190 crores; and

  • 2018-19 (BE): Rs. 301.50 crores.

Due to mechanization of agriculture, demand of draught and dual-purpose breeds like Amritmahal, Hallikar, Kangayam, Khillari, Bargur, Umblachery, Pullikulam, Krishna Valley, Kakrej, Hariana etc. have declined, but demand of indigenous dairy breeds has increased. There is good demand for Gir and Sahiwal semen for artificial insemination (AI). Under Rashtriya Gokul Mission, use of indigenous breed semen for AI is promoted. Simultaneously, more indigenous bulls are being inducted into semen stations for semen production. In order to produce more indigenous bulls for semen production, Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) and IVF technologies are being promoted under Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

One of the components of Rashtriya Gokul Mission is setting up of Gokul Grams for undertaking development and conservation of indigenous breeds in a scientific and organized manner. Rs. 173 crores have been sanctioned for 18 Gokul Gram related proposals received from 12 States. The Gokul Grams are being established and constructed by States through the State Livestock Development Board. Field Performance Recording is initiated in the native tracts of indigenous breeds and funds worth Rs. 9 crores have been released to 10 States. Milk Yield Competitions are being organized in 4 States and funds worth Rs. 1.24 crores have been released to the States till December 31, 2017.

Under this component it is proposed to establish Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres or Gokul Grams in the breeding tracts of indigenous breeds. Gokul Grams will be established in the native breeding tracts and near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle. Gokul Gram will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract. The Gokul Gram will be self-sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of A2 milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio-gas for in-house consumption, and sale of animal products. The Gokul Gram will also function as state-of-the-art in-situ training centre for farmers, breeders, and MAITRIs.

Each Gokul Gram will be set up by the EIA and function under the auspices of the SIA / EIA or in a PPP mode. The Gokul Gram will maintain milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40 and will have the capacity to maintain about 1,000 animals. Nutritional requirements of the animals will be provided in the Gokul Gram through in-house fodder production. Disease-free status of Gokul Gram will be maintained through regular screening of animals for important diseases like brucellosis, TB, and JD. An in-built dispensary and AI centre will be an integral part of the Gokul Gram. Gokul Gram will also be set up near to metropolitan cities for managing urban cattle. Metropolitan Gokul Gram will focus on genetic upgradation of urban cattle.

Special efforts have been made under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission from a scientific point of view for the conservation and development of native breeds. The emphasis is on using advanced breeding technologies and issuing a 12-digit unit tag to milch animals of the native breeds of cattle along with the establishment of 50 Embryo Transfer Labs and In-Vitro Fertilizer Labs. An e-Pashu Haat Portal has been launched for the convenience of farmers and animal rearers, with the help of which they can buy and sell livestock without the involvement of middlemen.

As per the Department, the activity regarding preservation and conservation of indigenous breeds of cattle has "begun quite late, since the focus earlier was on increasing milk production only". The area regarding conservation of indigenous breeds, therefore, will show results in a couple of years. The target right now is to produce around 2,800 bulls so that the AIE demand for native breeds can be met.

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