Headline : Why it is important to count India’s chickens (and cows)
- The 20th round of the Livestock Census in India is being conducted by about 50,000 enumerators and 10,000 supervisors.
Background of livestock census
- Livestock census actually covers the census of livestock, poultry, implements and machinery used for livestock rearing.
- It is the only source for providing various kind of detailed information for these groups.
- The human counting was started in 1872 and 47 years after that the importance of a livestock census was first recognised in the year 1919-1920.
- So far, 19 such censuses have been conducted in the country.
- The last census was conducted in 2012, putting total livestock population at 512.05 million and poultry population at 729.2 million.
- India’s 20th livestock census is ongoing, which has been started on 1st October, 2018.
- Livestock Census is conducted in every five years in India.
- India has largest livestock numbers in the world.
Highlightsof the 20thlivestock census
- The ongoing 20th round of the Livestock Census is an elaborate and complex exercise.
- It is being conducted by about 50,000 enumerators and 10,000 supervisors, enumerating animals in every village and ward.
- During the census operation, following various species of animals and poultry birds, possessed by the households, household enterprises/non-household enterprises and institutions will be counted –
- Animals:Cattle, Buffalo, Mithun, Yak, Sheep, Goat, Pig, Horse, Pony, Mule, Donkey Camel, Dog, Rabbit and Elephant.
- Poultry birds:Fowl, Duck, Emu, Turkeys, Quail and other poultry birds.
- It is also counting stray and abandoned animals.
- In the census, the data regarding the headcount, the breed of each animal along with sex, age, productivity, use etc. are being captured.
- Other supporting and supplementary data on the owners of livestock are also being collected and compiled, which includes information on occupation, income, landholding, education etc.
- They will simultaneously collect data on fishermen folk.
- The upcoming Census will for the first time use tablets/computers and a mobile application (app) software, developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), for collecting and transferring the data online.
- This exercise is more voluminous than enumerating the human population and it is extremely difficult and cumbersome.
- This Livestock Census is likely to conclude in a couple of months.
Significance of the livestock census
- Agriculture economy: Livestock is an integral part of the agriculture economy supporting the rural livelihood and livestock census helps the make policies for growth in agricultural economy.
- Socio-cultural milieu: Livestock is a rudimentary element of our socio-cultural milieu and owning and rearing livestock is an inseparable part of an inclusive universe.
- Foundation of development and growth: Accurate and reliable data is necessary for planning and development of the sector and livestock counting is foundation for a peaceful growth.
- Availability of data: The census produces a valuable data which would be immensely useful for policymakers, planners and academics.
- Reflects our ability: The Livestock Census as an operation is an example of our ability to undertake tasks that seems to be impossible and are complex and cumbersome.
- Fishery: The government does not have data on fisherman folk after 2003 and in this census fishery is a very important component to capture the information of fishermen families and infrastructure available for both inland and marine sector.
- Breed wise data
- It will be helpful for framing policies or programmes for breed improvement.
- It will also give vital information for determination of threatened indigenous breeds, which will help in taking initiatives for their conservation.
- Data Digitalization
- The current Livestock Census heavily leverages information technology to create a high-quality database.
- It is enabling simultaneous monitoring of the operations.
- Develops various analytical reports that are useful for a dynamic planning process for an equally dynamic livestock sector.
- It will reduce the time gap in data collection, data processing and report generation.
- It will streamline the process of census and will eliminate the errors.
- The data collected by the enumerators and verified by the supervisors are uploaded to the server immediately, resulting in real-time compilation and updating of data.
- Environment friendly: The use of paper in census operation has been replaced with tablet computers.
- Support holistic planning: The data collection regarding livestock and other supporting and supplementary data on the owners of livestock will support holistic planning for the agriculture sector.
- Tribute:It is a tribute to the vast number of our faceless but committed veterinarians and para-vets.
- The human headcount is conducted every 10 years by the Registrar General of India but feeder livestock is counted by no permanent administrative institution and hence there is a need to institutionalize it.
- Lack of institutionalization also results in lack of resources for livestock census and thus there is a need to allocate some more resources for more reliable and accurate data.
- It becomes a burden and goes unnoticed because of low general awareness about it, especially in urban areas and hence the need of the hour is to generate awareness about livestock census and its significance.
- They are the source of food for many of us and thus it is important to make this exercise a more widely publicised activity.