Have your milkman’s cattle got their 12-digit unique identification numbers yet? No, they won’t have to queue up to get an Aadhaar card.
The concept is similar, though, and the exercise unparalleled in its sheer scale.
Nearly one lakh technicians have started to fan out across the country since New Year’s Day, armed with 50,000 tablets and a single mission — to affix a tag with a 12-digit unique identification number inside an ear of each of the staggering 88 million cows and buffaloes within this year.
The purpose, as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, is to tag and track cattle so that they are vaccinated on time and scientific intervention is made available for better breeding and increasing milk production, doubling income of dairy farmers in the process by 2022.
The technicians have been trained to affix a polyurethane tag inside the ears of the cattle with a tag applicator. The tag is tamper-proof, cannot be opened by a wrench and is designed to last for years, officials said.
Affixing the tag is a meticulous job, an official said, explaining that the yellow-coloured tag with two parts has to be fixed with the help of a tool in the centre of the ear lobe. The tag made from thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer, costing .`8 apiece, weighs just eight grams to cause minimum inconvenience to the animal, the official said.
Once the tag is fixed, the technician will use a tablet to update the number in an online database and also provide the cattle owner with an ‘animal health card’ recording the UID number, owner’s details, status of periodic deworming and vaccinations of the animal as well as breeding details. This will help track the cattle along with all relevant details.
The Centre has set aside .`148 crore for procuring the tags, tag applicators, tablets and health cards, officials said.
It has also fixed targets for individual states to be completed within 2017. Uttar Pradesh has to affix tags on 14 lakh cattle every month, for instance, while Madhya Pradesh has to tag 7.5 lakh cattle a month.
India has nearly 41 million buffaloes and 47 million indigenous and cross-bred cows that produce milk. UP has the highest cattle population (16 million) in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (9 million), Rajasthan (8.4 million), Gujarat (6.2 million) and Andhra Pradesh (5.4 million).
Alongside, the Modi government is pursuing a Rs 594-crore project to introduce sexsorted semen production technology through machines at 10 semen stations in the country and produce sex-sorted semen.
ET had earlier reported that the Centre is in talks with two US firms for sex-sorted semen technology which ensures only female bovines are born through assisted reproduction.
The aim is to produce six million “genetically improved” female bovines every year by 2019 to make milk production far more remunerative.
Using genomics, the Centre and the states have selected the best male and female bovines to extract semen from the males and use the American machines to separate X (female) and Y chromosomes and the frozen X-chromosome semen will be used to inseminate the female.
The machines to be supplied by the US firms can create about 14 X-chromosome doses per hour.
The Centre has set aside Rs 200 crore for installing the machines and Rs 275 crore for the cost of sex-sorted semen production this year.
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