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Rs 4,000 cr to curb cattle disease in 12th plan

New Delhi, Feb 12, 2012, DHNS: 1:28 IST
The Centre is all set to launch a Rs 4,000 crore programme to tackle foot and mouth disease -- India's most common livestock disease resulting into the loss of thousands of crores in milk and meat production -- in eight states including Karnataka in the next five years.

By 2025, the southern peninsula is anticipated to be free from it, but it might take another five years to make the entire country free from this economically important disease, B Patnaik, who heads Indian Council of Agriculture Research's (ICAR) project directorate on the disease at Mukteswar told Deccan Herald.

With India loosing milk and meat worth Rs 20,000 crore every year due to it, controlling the disease remains one of the key targets of the government, challenged with the rising population and poor nutritional standards for kids and adults.

The disease control programme which kick started in a limited way in the 11th plan with an allocation of Rs 800 crore, will expand to 604 districts covering 350 million cattle and buffalo.

“As on date, 54 districts covered in the first phase of the control programme are in stage-III, in which the control strategy is implemented in livestock. It is akin to polio programme, in which each animal is given two vaccines every year,” said R Venkataramanan, a scientist at the Bangalore unit of Indian Veterinary Research Institute.

Subsequently, the programme has been expanded to 167 districts and by 2018, the northern quadrangle comprising of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab is expected to be a disease free zone.

However, vaccine production remains a concern for the country. India produces 270 million doses per year as against the need of 600 million. Only four companies manufacture vaccine for the disease currently.

“In the 12th plan, we will rope in more private companies to manufacture larger quantities of vaccine for the disease to take care of the expanded programme,” said K M L Pathak, deputy director general-in-charge of animal sciences at the ICAR.

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