RSTV IAS UPSC – Livestock Census 2019

  • IASbaba
  • October 26, 2019
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The Big Picture- RSTV
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Livestock Census 2019



General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

In News: The provisional data of the 20th Livestock Census released by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying showed that the livestock population increased by 4.6 per cent, from 512.06 million in 2012. The total number for livestock was pegged at around 536 million.

  • Conducted periodically since 1919-20
  • The census shows a further decline in the indigenous cattle population. 
  • It also shows that the cow belt of the country has shifted eastwards with West Bengal emerging as a state with the largest cattle population, leaving behind Uttar Pradesh.
  • For the latest round of census, more than 80,000 personnel were in the field collecting data from more than 27 crore households and non-households using tablets. According to the official statement, this was a unique attempt to digitise household level data transmitted directly from the field.

Released by: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying

What is the livestock census?

Under the livestock census, various species of animals possessed by households, household enterprises or non-household enterprises and institutions are counted at site — both in rural and urban areas. In other words, it covers all domesticated animals in a given period of time. India has been conducting livestock censuses periodically since 1919-20. This is the 20th one, started in October 2018. The last livestock census was conducted in 2012.

Key results and changes since the last census

  • The population of cows in the country has risen by 18 per cent in the last seven years, while that of oxen dipped by 30 per cent.
  • A spectacular 16.8 per cent increase in the poultry population in the country to 851.81 million, mainly on account of a 46 per cent rise in backyard poultry birds, whose numbers have gone up to 317 million. Assam had registered the largest (71.63%) growth in poultry population.
  • The number of female cattle is 145.12 million, which is 18 per cent over the 122.98 million in 2012. The number of male cattle, on the other hand, dropped to 47.4 million as against 67.92 million in 2012. Significantly the male to female cattle ratio in the 2019 survey dropped to 1:3 from 1:1.8 in the 2012 livestock survey.
  • There is a 6 per cent decline in the total number of indigenous cattle over the previous census. On the contrary, the population of total exotic/crossbred cattle has increased by 26.9 per cent in 2019 as compared to previous census.
    • Due to continuous fall in productivity, indigenous breeds of cattle have become liabilities for farmers, forcing them to desert the unproductive cows. Farmers find other animals such as buffaloes, goats and sheep much more productive. 
    • Unlike cows, if these animals become unproductive, they can be sold and slaughtered for further processing.
    • Experts believe this could have long term health and environmental impacts because the milk of indigenous breed has higher nutritional value than that of crossbreeds. 
    • Moreover, there is a danger of losing these indigenous breeds, which have been developed and sustained by generations from time immemorial.
  • As compared to the previous census, the percentage of sheep and goats has increased whereas the percentage of cattle, buffaloes and pigs has marginally declined.

State Report

  1. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of livestock of 67.8 million (68.7 million in 2012)
  2. Rajasthan: 56.8 million (57.7 million)
  3. Madhya Pradesh: 40.6 million (36.3 million)
  4. West Bengal: 37.4 million (30.3 million)

Significance of livestock rearing

The livestock species play very important economic, social and cultural roles or functions for rural households once they contribute to improve income and wellbeing of the farm family. Livestock has an important contribution for food supply of rural and urban areas and contributes to the family nutrition, supplying animal protein.

Cry of Distress: The NSSO Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households (2013) shows that 52% of farming households are indebted, with rates as high as 89-92% in some States. The distress is mainly due to lack of compensation during drought and disasters, the failures of the crop insurance scheme, and the deficit due to prices falling below the announced Minimum Support Prices. Diversification of sources of income for farmers is one of the few suggested solutions. Here, livestock plays an important role for a distress farmer.

Labour: A distress farmer cannot afford mechanised farming. For him cattle provide the service of labour. They help in very crude form of mechanised farming for small and marginal farmers.

Reliable source of income: Unlike farm crops, livestock do not easily suffer from monsoon failure or such other natural calamity. They continue to provide milk, eggs, etc. in almost all weather conditions. Every part of livestock carries economic importance such as leather, wool, meat, etc.

Reduces input cost: Dung and other remnants of livestock act as green manure, a substitute to fertilisers. They also help in weed control without using chemicals or others costly and hazardous methods.

An asset: Livestock are important asset for a distress farmer which can be encashed at any moment and may help him to come out of debt trap.

Nutritional security: For a distressed farmer’s family, food provided by livestock is the only source of nutrition required for survival.

However, we face issues like –

  • Poor Quality breeds
  • Shrinking pasteur land
  • Low productivity of dairy- which could be improved by using scientific method
  • There is a huge deficit of good quality fodder
  • Spread of disease among the cattle
  • There is an excessive number of unproductive animals which compete with productive dairy animals in the utilisation of available feeds and fodder.
  • Late maturity, in most of the Indian cattle breeds, is a common problem. The calving interval is on the increase resulting in a reduction in efficiency of animal performance.
  • Veterinary health care centres are located in far off places. The ratio between cattle population and veterinary institution is wider, resulting in inadequate health services to animals. (Foot and Mouth disease)
  • Many cattle owners do not provide proper shelter to their cattles leaving them exposed to extreme climatic conditions.
  • Unsanitary conditions of cattle shed and milking yards, leads to mastitis conditions
  • Lack of proper farmer-industry connectivity
  • A low number of APEDA-approved abattoir
  • High export duty on raw salted hides
  • Lack of R&D in the sector

Way forward

  • A national breeding policy is needed to upgrade the best performing indigenous breeds.
  • Buffalo breeding ought to be given more attention, while poultry breeding should be focused on conservation.
  • State governments should be encouraged to participate in national breeding policy implementation. Geographical information system-based analysis must be utilised to map production systems.
  • Animal health care should become a priority, with greater investment in preventive health care.
  • Private investment must also be encouraged. The government needs to create better incentive structures for investment in livestock.
  • State governments should sponsor research and assessment of the market, along with highlighting investment potential.


The growth in the livestock sector is demand-driven, inclusive and pro-poor. The extent to which the potential of livestock can be harnessed would depend on how technology, institutions, policies and financial support address the constraints of the sector.  The growth of the livestock sector would have more effect on poverty reduction and will contribute to Doubling farmer income by 2022.

Note: Salient features of National Livestock mission

  • Sustainable growth and development of livestock sector, including poultry
  • Increasing availability of fodder and feed to substantially reduce the demand –supply gap through measures which include more area coverage under quality fodder seeds, technology promotion, extension, post – harvest management and processing in consonance with diverse agro -climatic condition.
  • Accelerating production of quality fodder and fodder seeds through effective seed production chain (Nucleus – Breeder –Foundation – Certified-Truthfully labelled, etc.) with active involvement of farmers and in collaboration with the dairy / farmers cooperatives, seed corporations, and private sector enterprises.
  • Establishing convergence and synergy among ongoing Plan programmes and stakeholders for sustainable livestock development.
  • Promoting applied research in prioritized areas of concern in animal nutrition and livestock production.
  • Capacity building of state functionaries and livestock owners through strengthened extension machinery to provide quality extension service to farmers.
  • Promoting skill based training and dissemination of technologies for reducing cost of production, and improving production of livestock sector
  • Promoting initiatives for conservation and genetic upgradation of indigenous breeds of livestock (except bovines which are being covered under another scheme of the Ministry) in collaboration with farmers / farmers’ groups / cooperatives, etc.
  • Encouraging formation of groups of farmers and cooperatives / producers’ companies of small and marginal farmers / livestock owners.
  • Promoting innovative pilot projects and mainstreaming of successful pilots relating to livestock sector.
  • Providing infrastructure and linkage for marketing, processing and value addition, as forward linkage for the farmer’s enterprises.
  • Promoting risk management measures including livestock insurance for farmers.
  • Promoting activities to control and prevent animal diseases, environmental pollution, promoting efforts towards food safety and quality, and supply of quality hides and skins through timely recovery of carcasses.
  • Encouraging community participation on sustainable practices related to animal husbandry, involvement of community in breed conservation and creation of resource map for the states.

Must read: Mindmap

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Livestock wealth is central to rural economy In India. Discuss the importance of livestock as a means of sustainable rural development. Also discuss the salient features of the National Livestock Mission.
  2. Suggest a roadmap to tap India’s real potential in the livestock sector. Identify key focus areas to achieve the same. 
  3. Dairy farming can’t sustain itself without a vibrant livestock processing industry. Comment.
  4. For the rural economy, animal rearing can become a cushion in times of distress. Don you agree? Substantiate.

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