ICMR(INDIAN COUNCIL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH) moots change in cattle rearing practices:


Why in the news?

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has suggested India to 'urgently wean away from coal as its main source of energy' and 'shift from traditional animal husbandry practices' to combat the challenges of climate change.

Key highlights:

The ICMR’s policy brief accompanies the 2021 Global Lancet Countdown Report focusing on,

  • Premature mortality due to ambient air pollution by sector-
  • Emissions from agricultural production and consumption; and
  • Detection, preparedness and response to health emergencies.
  • The combustion of coal, mainly in power plants followed by
  • industrial and household settings have increased premature mortality.
  • Therefore, India needs to urgently wean away from coal as its main source of energy and needs to invest more on renewable, cleaner and sustainable sources such as solar, wind or hydro energy.
  • Since 46% of all agricultural emissions in India are contributed by ruminants such as goats, sheep and cattle, India needs to move away from the traditional animal husbandry practices.

India must invest in newer technologies that will improve:

  • Animal breeding and rearing practices,
  • Use of good livestock feeds and
  • Implement proper manure management.
  • All of these practices will contribute to the reduction of the GHG (GREENHOUSE GAS) emissions.

What is Livestock Rearing?

  • Animal rearing is considered an associate business with agricultural activities in rural India. Animal husbandry is an integral component of Indian agriculture, supporting the livelihood of almost 55% of the rural population.
  • India is the highest livestock owner of the world.
  • Livestock has been an important source of livelihood for small farmers.


  • The distribution patterns of income and employment show that small farm households hold more opportunities in livestock production. 
  • The growth in livestock sector is demand-driven, inclusive and pro-poor. Incidence of rural poverty is less in states like Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, and Rajasthan where livestock accounts for a sizable share of agricultural income as well as employment. 
  • Empirical evidence from India as well as from many other developing countries suggests that livestock development has been an important route for the poor households to escape poverty.

Policies Launched for Livestock Sector by the Government:

Rashtriya Gokul Mission:

  • The Mission aims to conserve and develop indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner and for that breeding facilities will be set up for varieties with high-genetic pedigree”. 
  • The aim of the mission is to protect Indigenous cows from being cross-bred into different varieties.
  • Focus will be largely to give a push to local breeding programmes on the line of elite local breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi to enhance milk production.

National Livestock Mission:

  •  This Mission is formulated with the objective of sustainable development of livestock sector, focusing on improving availability of quality feed and fodder. NLM  is implemented in all States including Sikkim.

National Cattle and Buffalo Breeding Project:

  • To genetically upgrade important indigenous breeds on a priority basis with a focus on development and conservation.

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