20th Livestock Census: Taking forward the dream of Digital India

Pashu Sandesh, 13th February 2019

The process of counting the Livestock in the country which started in 1919 till the last Livestock census in 2012 has entered into the Digital realm with the start of 20th Livestock census. 

The 20th Livestock Census which started in month of October 2018 is expected to be finished by 31st March 2019 is unique in the sense that for the first time the data collected during the Census is being collected on the Digital Tablets and are uploaded real time by the Enumerator. For the completion of this mammoth task around 55000 Tablets have been procured and distributed to cover around 28 crore households. The Tablets costing around 6000 Rs each is funded by the Central Government.What is another first is the conduct of the Census by 10000 Veterinary Doctors and Para Vets who are not only collecting and uploading the Data but also tagging the Animals in the process. Each enumerator is allotted 8 to 10 villages by the Animal Husbandry Department of the State. The required training for the data collection is being provided by the Animal Husbandry Department GOI through audio and video tutorials,the links of which are available on the Department’s official website.

The animals being counted in the 20th Livestock census are Cattle, Buffaloes, Mithun, Yaks, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, camels, dogs, rabbits and elephants. Birds are also being counted and include Fowl, ducks, turkeys, emus, quails, guinea fowls, ostriches and geese. 

During last census 51.2 crore was the count of Livestock which had shown a decline of 3.33% over the 2007 Census. Although the bovine population shown a decline, there was an increase in the milk producing cows and buffalos by 4.3% as compared to 2007 census which also collaborated with the increase in Milk production in the country. 

Till now around 4 crore households have been covered and covering the entire 28 crore households by 31st March seems to be an unlikely possibility. Delhi, Assam and Tripura have not yet started the Census program and Haryana and Gujarat are going very slow. There was some resistance in Haryana among Vets and Para Vets over the conduction of the program citing reasons of poor understanding and training of the data collection software. Whatever are the reasons and whatever be the reasons of the slow pace of the program, one thing is very clear that the 20th Livestock Census herald a new era of Digital revolution in Data Collection and management which should enable the planners to think ahead of times with realistic projections of  the Animal productivity, Upgradation and welfare of Livestock in India.