By- Alex Naoroibam
India is in the midst of a raging battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and so far, we have managed to check its spread and limit the number of fatalities.
There are many dimensions to this battle being waged by the Indian government. One crucial aspect of the fight is to keep the economic cycle rolling, to help people earn their livelihood. One strategy in this effort has been to empower the youth in the field of Animal Husbandry, to enhance their skill and learning capacity.
A recent Cabinet Meeting chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has introduced a Rs. 15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund for infrastructure related development in animal husbandry, dairy and livestock related enterprises. The scheme is aimed at providing employment to nearly 35 lakh youth of the nation. Under the scheme, banks will provide upto 90 per cent loan for starting such enterprises.
For the first time the Government has extended an Interest subvention of 3 per cent on all such loans under the scheme. The Development Fund will incentivise infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants. Eligible beneficiaries under the Scheme would be Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies and individual entrepreneurs.
Animal husbandry plays a vital role in the rural economy of the country. Many depend on this for their livelihood. In most of the North East states, and especially so in Manipur, many from rural areas are depending on animal husbandry. Cattle rearing, pig farm, poultry farm, etc. are quite important in sustaining the livelihood of the people in rural areas.
Proper animal husbandry practices are crucial in providing correct feed, proper shelter and protection against diseases to the domestic animals So they can be economically productive. It also helps in developing high yielding breeds of various domestic animals through cross breeding. It increases the availability of various food products such as milk, eggs and meat to the family and the local communities. Itpeole learn ways in systematic disposal of animal wastes, which helps in maintaining healthy environment.
In Manipur, animal husbandry is an opportunity area as a wide range of animal breeding and raising of livestock are yet to be explored. With the introduction of this scheme, youth can now explore the field of animal breeding and raising of livestock with necessary financial assistance.
In Manipur we are witnessing a start of small units for processed meat products. However, such processed meat products can be enhanced through value addition and bring them up to international level by utilizing the scheme.
One of the best opportunity brought by the introduction of the scheme is that it can be utilised in horse breeding. It is a known fact that Pony (Manipuri Horse breed) played an important role in introducing the game of Polo to the world. However, it is very unfortunate that in Manipur very few people are engaging in horse breeding and rearing. Taking the opportunity of the scheme, people who are engaging in horse breeding can now expand their business and improve their stocks and as a result grow economically.
Recently, an American giant food chain KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) has shown interest in Manipur. As a result of this, many youth have started engaging in poultry farming. Taking a cue from this, and with the help of this scheme, Manipuri youth can start up such food chain businesses that can spread up to the whole nation and even at international level in a few years.
In tune with the Central Policy, Manipur Government has started giving opportunity to the eligible farmers of the state under the PM Kishan scheme. Earlier the PM Kishan scheme only covered farmers but now it has included people in animal husbandry business. The benefit provided under Kishan Credit Card would ensure a sum of Rs 1.6 Lakh to every farmer. The scheme would also ensure the farmers to procure loan without guarantors.
Such initiative of the State Government would surely ease the problems being faced by the animal husbandry farmers, and would also help in attracting more unemployed youths in the sector. This policy of the Government in the Centre would not only help the youth in fighting against the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic but also help in generating income forcing the rural and semi urban unemployed youth. This will also help in the realisation of the dream of expanding entrepreneurship, promote the ideal of Atmanirbhar Bharat and strengthen the weakest sections of our society.