R'than seeks to boost cattle health

A free medicine scheme for livestock in Rajasthan has led to a 25 per cent 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 on August 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 per cent increase in the number of sick cattle coming to the veterinary institutes has been registered in the state,” Gehlot said.

“Over 2.73 million sick cattle have been provided free medicines so far and 8,23,000 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 per cent to the total milk production in the country; it also has a 35 per cent share in wool production. 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. Rs 2 lakh each has been allotted at all divisional headquarters for purchasing essential medicines for cattle in order to meet any emergency situation.

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