Jaipur, Nov 20 (IANS) A free medicine scheme for livestock in Rajasthan has led to a 25 percent increase in the number of cattle coming to government−run veterinary centres, says Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, stressing the importance of the initiative in a state where animal husbandry contributes eight percent of the GDP.
The chief minister's Livestock Free Medicine Scheme was launched Aug 15 by Gehlot to boost the economy of the state by catering to health needs of cattle. The scheme has started paying dividends in just three months.
"As per available information, a 25 percent increase in the number of sick cattle coming to the veterinary institutes has been registered in the state," Gehlot told IANS.
"Over 2.73 million sick cattle have been provided free medicines so far and 823,000 cattle have been vaccinated against infectious diseases in the state," he said.
Livestock has become a symbol of social and economic prosperity in the rural environment of the desert state. According to 2007 cattle census, the state has a total of 56.66 million cattle, which includes camels, cows and buffaloes, and five million poultry.
Rajasthan contributes 12 percent to the total milk production in the country; it also has a 35 percent share in wool production.
Livestock is important, say experts, citing the fact that animal husbandry contributes eight percent to the GDP of the state.
The chief minister's new scheme makes possible the treatment of the cattle that are deprived of veterinary medical services due to shortage of money.
In the first phase, a budget allocation of Rs.60 crore was made. Over 87 frequently needed veterinary generic medicines and 13 consumables are being provided free of cost in the state under the scheme.
According to Gehlot, medicines worth Rs.22 crore have been made available so far to cattle in different districts in the state.
A sum of Rs.200,000 each has been allotted at all divisional headquarters for purchasing essential medicines for cattle in order to meet any emergency situation.
According to animal husbandry department officials, under the scheme, 180 camels were recently treated successfully in Sanganiyaar village of Dungarpur district.
"This made it possible for the camel breeders to save Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000, which otherwise would have been spent on the treatment of these camels. Without this scheme, these 180 camels would have died for want of treatment," said an official.
(Anil Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)