Srinagar: As Jammu and Kashmir became the first union territory to launch Mobile Veterinary Unit scheme, the Centre Tuesday promised extending full support to the J&K government for developing fisheries, animal husbandry, and dairy sectors.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala, and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched the ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit scheme in J&K.
Union Minister Rupala, who presided over the launch ceremony, congratulated the J&K government and the people of J&K on the beginning of a new era in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Healthcare sector and becoming the first union territory to launch the Mobile Veterinary Unit scheme. He said that the ‘A-HELP’ programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit scheme would increase the accessibility of veterinary services at the farmers’ doorsteps while empowering the Pashu Sakhis.
Rupala assured full support from the union ministry to the J&K government for the development and growth of the fisheries, animal husbandry, and dairy sector.
He appealed to the farming community to avail the benefits of the schemes and programmes launched by the Centre under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi aiming at improving the standard of living and their overall welfare.
Further, the union minister said that the record number of tourists visiting J&K speaks volumes about the new and changed J&K.
He expressed his affection towards the language, culture, and warm hospitality of the people of J&K.
Addressing the gathering, LG Sinha expressed gratitude to PM Modi and Union Minister Rupala for implementing the ‘A-HELP’ programme for the livestock sector in J&K and the launch of 50 state-of-the-art mobile veterinary units to provide veterinary health services at the doorsteps.
“The new initiative would play a significant role in vaccination, breeding, and livestock extension programmes,” he said. “Now the veterinary hospital is just a call away. Dairy farmers can dial 1962 on the phone and a mobile veterinary unit equipped with state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostic and treatment accessories, a qualified veterinarian, a para-vet, will be at their doorstep.”
Pointing out that women had played a crucial role in sustaining household incomes by participating in agricultural activities including livestock rearing, the LG said that tangible interventions in the livestock sector could guarantee an increase in household income and women empowerment.
“Although the livestock sector offers tremendous opportunities for women, till now institutional support was lacking. This gap will be filled with the launch of the A-HELP programme,” he said. “For holistic growth of agriculture and allied sectors, we have identified key areas where J&K has a core competence for integrated action. We have decided to achieve certain goals with clear targets. It is our responsibility to fully support our farmers in building a bright future for themselves and the society.”
Noting that agriculture and allied sector were full of self-confidence now and marching forward on the path to progress, the LG said that an apex committee had already laid down the roadmap and assured the farmers that no region in the country has developed such a model.
He sought the participation of all stakeholders for the effective implementation of the recommendations of the apex committee on the ground.
The LG said that the dedicated efforts of the Self Help Groups and cooperatives were complemented by government support to strengthen the entire value chain from milk production, and processing to marketing so that farmers could receive higher prices and improve their quality of life.
“Milk Self-Help Groups and Farmer Producers Organisations established by JKRLM would be called village-level dairy cooperative societies and become eligible for various benefits provided under different central sector schemes,” he said.
Emphasising that dairy farmers had played a key role in making J&K self-sufficient in milk production, the LG asked the Animal Husbandry Department and Cooperatives to work closely together at every step to meet future challenges.
He said that a 50 percent cost was being borne by the J&K administration to ensure increased ownership of dairy units by women and weaker sections, and encourage entrepreneurs to buy milk chilling units, milk parlours, milk processing units, or milk vans.
The LG made a special mention of Chandni Dairy Farmers Producer Organisation in Mitrigam, Pulwama, where 11 women had come together and set a fine example for the entire J&K by making unprecedented efforts towards branding and marketing in collaboration with Rural Livelihood Mission and Animal Husbandry Department.
“Prevention of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is one of the major priorities of the government. I am seeking a report from the districts from time to time and directed the Animal Husbandry Department and Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to take special measures for the prevention of the disease,” the LG said.
Advisor to the Lt Governor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar congratulated the farmers and Pashu Sakhis for the launch of the two significant initiatives in Animal Husbandry.
He said that this important occasion would lay a strong foundation for achieving the vision of 2027.
Union Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Rajesh Kumar Singh said that the A-HELP programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit scheme would provide a paradigm shift in the veterinary healthcare services in J&K.
He shared the vision of the Centre to bring transformational change in the animal husbandry and dairy sectors and encourage entrepreneurship-led development.
Additional Chief Secretary of the Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo, said that it was a proud moment that J&K had been selected for the pilot launch of the A-HELP programme.
He said that new initiatives taken in the convergence of two ministries - Animal Husbandry and Rural Development through the National Rural Livelihood Mission would help in filling the gap between Animal Husbandry and Veterinary health services.
Dulloo said that during the first phase, the department was aiming to train 3000 Pashu Sakhis for vaccination, ear tagging, first aid treatment, artificial insemination, and extension services and that they would get an honorarium for their services.
He highlighted the steps taken to promote niche local products like Kaladi, besides increasing milk production and developing FPOs.
Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Upamanyu Basu gave detailed information regarding the newly-launched A-HELP programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit schemes.
Arif Bashir threw light on the past, present, and future of the dairy sector of J&K.
He talked about the various initiatives taken for the development of the dairy sector in J&K.
Secretary, Department of Agriculture Production and Farmer's Welfare, Shabnam Kamili presented the welcome address.
Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, Indu Kanwal Chib on behalf of the members of the Self Help Groups thanked the government for taking various initiatives for empowering women SHGs in J&K.
Union Minister Rupala and LG Sinha flagged off the fleet of Mobile Veterinary Units to mark the occasion.