The government on Friday said around 24 crore cattle and buffaloes have now been covered under Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccination drive.
FMD is a major disease of livestock especially in cattle and buffaloes in India and causes huge economic loss to livestock owners due to a reduction in milk yield.
"During the second round of the Foot and Mouth Disease vaccination drive, around 24 crore cattle and buffaloes in the country have now been covered out of a targeted population of 25.8 crore cattle (as per data furnished by states); reaching a near universal coverage of over 95 per cent which is well beyond the herd immunity level," an official statement said.
The milestone has been achieved because of the relentless efforts of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), State/ UT Governments administration, and support of the livestock owners, it added.
The programme is 100 per cent funded by the Centre which is centrally procuring vaccines against FMD and supplying to states. It is also providing for vaccination charges, accessories, awareness creation, cold chain infrastructure etc. to enable states/ UTs undertake vaccination in campaign mode.
The livestock owners are sensitized and made aware through various information, education and communication measures to get their animals vaccinated and requested to contact the nearest livestock health workers/ veterinarians to avail the facility.
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The department is also collaborating with Ministry of Rural Development to train more animal health workers/paravets.
"It is expected that with such continued efforts, the goal of controlling and eventually eradicating Foot & Mouth Disease from the country will be achieved which will also help in increasing the income of livestock farmers/ keepers and in boosting India's trade in livestock products," the statement said.
In 2019, the government had launched a new scheme National Animal Disease Control Programme for FMD and Brucellosis with a financial outlay of Rs 13,343 crore for five years (2019-20 to 2023-24) by vaccinating 100 per cent cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population for FMD and 100 per cent bovine female calves of 4-8 months of age for brucellosis.
The programme aims to control FMD through vaccination leading to its eventual eradication by 2030. This will result in increased domestic production and ultimately in increased exports of livestock products. Currently under this programme, vaccination is carried out in all cattle and buffaloes.