According to the 20th Livestock census conducted in June 2019, the population of cattle and goats increased by 74 per cent and 17.65 per cent respectively, over a period of 10 years. The State government attributed this increase to a programme begun in 2011, wherein milch cows, goat and sheep were distributed free of cost to rural poor women, who thus became owners of movable assets that could be liquidated in times of need.
A total of 11.67 lakh poor women were provided with 46.70 lakh goats/sheep during the period 2011-12 to 2019-20. This, in turn, fetched overall returns of around ₹1,953 crore, leading to economic upliftment of rural poor women.
The scheme, which empowered rural poor women economically, will be continued in 2020-21. During this year, six lakh goats/sheep will be given off to 1.50 lakh beneficiaries free of cost, says the Policy Note on animal husbandry 2020-21 submitted by State Minister for Animal Husbandry Udumalai K Radhakrishnan in the Assembly on Wednesday.
As per the 20th Livestock census, the cattle population in Tamil Nadu rose to 95.19 lakh from 88.14 lakh registered in the 19th Livestock census. The population of goats increased to 98.89 lakh from 81.43 lakh during this period.
However, the population of sheep declined by 6.36 per cent to 45 lakh from 48 lakh. The State government attributed the reason for this development to rapid urbanisation, which resulted in decline of grazing land.
During 2018-19, a production cluster was established to enable adoption and harmonisation of best practices in goat/sheep husbandry among all the farmers in the beneficiary villages. Each beneficiary was provided with one male and three female goats/sheep of 6-8 months of age. Goats/sheep were purchased from local shandy by the beneficiaries themselves. Insurance for the animals was provided at government cost at the purchase spot itself, the Policy Note said.
As per the 20th Livestock Census, Tamil Nadu ranked first in poultry, fifth in sheep, seventh in goats and 14th in bovines (cattle and buffalo) population in the country.
Budget 2020-21 has allocated a sum of ₹1,678 crore for animal husbandry. Of this, the projected revenue expenditure is ₹1,450 crore, capital expenditure ₹227 crore and loan amount ₹0.25 crore, the Policy Note said.