Animal and sheep husbandry: Lack of doctors, staff biggest obstacle in its growth
BY: Dr Ishfaq Jamal
The last time JKPSC advertised Veterinary assistant surgeon posts for twin departments of animal and sheep husbandry was in 2016 and that too mere 24 posts. Our state has a total livestock population of around 1 million and total poultry population about 8273 thousand. Twin departments of animal and sheep husbandry are facing acute deficiency of veterinary doctors. There are only 736 veterinarians serving the animal husbandry department out of which some 200 vets are serving the administrative side leaving only about 500 vets to cater to the entire livestock population of our state. One VAS serves at two to three center’s on rotation basis. Such is the dearth of doctors in field that people in rural areas have no concept of difference between a vet and a paravet.
Our state has more than 1000 highly qualified, trained and skilled but unemployed veterinarians. Regular government’s have time and again turned a blind eye and disappointed these vets by providing lame excuses like lack of funds etc for not employing them or creation of more posts. Leave alone creation of new posts even the regular vacancies in departments are not referred to PSC. When unemployed vets approachedan ex animal husbandry minister of our state with a motive of presenting a presentation on the prospectus and future of animal husbandry in our state he amazed them by asking what is “BVSc”. The minister incharge was not aware of the degree leave alone what policy and plans he had for the department. This shows the regular governments apathy towards the sector. Same was the case with previous governments who never bothered to address the genuine demands of veterinarians.
To put just one example a cow comes to heat once in 21 days and needs to be inseminated within 12 hours for a successful insemination . In our state most of the farmers aren’t able to inseminate their cows on appropriate time due to non availability of trained staff on these centers. Missing a single estrus means extension of calving interval by 21 days and a loss of 21 days milk production which sums around 5000 rupees for one cow . Imagine the number of milking days lost for the whole population of cattle and its monetary value. In rural areas even for a simple mastitis infection farmers are compelled to cull their cows due to non availability of treatment facilities.
With such a huge dearth of trained vets it is impossible to raise the animal husbandry sector to higher standards. Animal husbandry has never been the focus of any of our governments especially from last two decades. Our neighboring states Punjab and Haryana the epicenter of green and white revolution and now one of the top contributors to India’s GDP always focused on animal husbandry. Their policy makers realized the importance of strengthening rural economy, women empowerment and gender equity through milk cooperatives and other farming activities.
Under governors rule the delegations of unemployed vet doctors are allowed to meet the officalsincharge and listened to properly.There is hope that under the leadership of highly talented and subject expert Principalsecretary of animal and sheep husbandry department a policy will be formulated, that will address the genuine demands and concerns of vets and posts will be created regularly so that department would be in a position to serve properly.