Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), supposedly one of the most economically devastating contagious viral animal diseases, is now a government priority and should be eradicated through ‘FMD Mukt Bharat’ in the next few years.
The losses incurred due to milk and meat are almost around Rs 20,000 crore per annum and the estimates will be much higher if the indirect losses such as reduced work capacity, abortions, subsequent infertility, and sterility (that account for the reduced milk production subsequently) are taken into account.
Aiming to reduce the losses, the government had introduced a location-specific programme called ‘Foot and Mouth Disease Control Programme (FMD-CP)’ in its 10th Plan Period and so far has been implemented in 13 states and six union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Puducherry, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep.
The government claims that the FMD-CP has seen a significant drop in the disease occurrences. Citing it, the government in a statement said from the 879 FMD outbreaks which were reported in 2012 throughout the country, the number reduced to 109 in 2015.
The programme will now be implemented in the remaining states in a phased manner. Rs100 crore has been allocated for this and will be covered under intensive FMD vaccination at six monthly intervals.
The states which remain to be covered are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Union territory of Chandigarh.
The completion will be independently taken care of by the state governments.
Apart from this, the government is also releasing funds to promote and supplement the efforts made by the state governments for promotion, development, and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds including Gir and Sahiwal.
Additionally, the Government is also infusing capital through a sub-scheme called ‘Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure (AMI)’. The Central Government had allocated Rs 675.86 crore for Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure in 2015–16 and a total of 37,371 godown projects have been sanctioned for renovation/construction throughout the country.