NEW DELHI || The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries on Monday organized a day-long national conference on ‘Gaushalas’ (cowsheds).
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said that villages were traditionally planned in such a manner that there were facilities for human beings and fodder for animals. He invited suggestions from the participants for the kind of policy-based decisions that can be taken to improve the situation.
The Minister said that the draft of a policy is being prepared, which will include a provision to provide protein-rich fodder free of cost to the people living in villages adjoining the jungles. The Environment Minister also emphasized the need to protect pasture lands. He also suggested that if there is 500 acres of land, 25 acres be set aside for growing good quality grass and fodder.
Javadekar said that the technical sessions will discuss three issues – (i) how to increase the milk productivity of Indian cows; (ii) Making provision for feed, fodder and ancillary requirements for Indian cows and (iii) Management of cows in the post-productive phase.
Addressing the gathering, Union Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh said that livestock are the backbone of the rural economy. He said that livestock forms the basis of occupation of 60 million people. The Minister also pointed out that the distribution of livestock is much more balanced than distribution of land in rural economy.
The Agriculture Minister said that there are 19 crore livestock in the country, which is about 14% of the world’s livestock and out of this, 15 crore are indigenous livestock. He also emphasized that the government has granted funds to establish National Breeding Centres for the promotion and protection of indigenous livestock. He said that the government has granted Rs 582 crore in the last two years for the promotion and protection of indigenous livestock.