Srinagar : Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Shri Parshottam Rupala and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today launched ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit Scheme in the Union Territory of J&K.
Union Minister Shri Parshottam Rupala, who presided over the launch ceremony, congratulated the UT government and the people of J&K on the beginning of a new era in Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Health Care sector and becoming the first UT to launch Mobile Veterinary Unit Scheme.
The Union Minister said that the ‘A-HELP’ programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit Scheme will increase accessibility of veterinary services at farmer’s doorsteps while empowering the Pashu Sakhis.
He also assured full support from the Union Ministry to the UT Government for development and growth of the Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and the Dairy sector.
The Union Minister appealed to the farming community to avail the benefits of the schemes and programmes launched by the Central Government under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister aiming at improving the standard of living and their overall welfare.
Further, the Union Minister said that record number of tourists visiting the UT speaks volumes about the new and changed Jammu Kashmir. He also expressed his affection towards the language, culture and the warm hospitality of the people of J&K.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt Governor expressed deepest gratitude to PM Narendra Modi and Union Minister Parshottam Rupala for implementing ‘A-HELP’ Programme for 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 will play a significant role in vaccination, breeding, and livestock extension programs, he said.
Now the veterinary Hospital is just a call away. Dairy farmers can dial 1962 on 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 door step, the Lt Governor added.
Pointing out that women have played a crucial role in sustaining the household incomes by participating in the agricultural activities including livestock rearing, the Lt Governor said, tangible interventions in livestock sector can guarantee increase in household income and women empowerment.
Although the livestock sector offers tremendous opportunities for women but till now institutional support was lacking. This gap will be filled with the launch of A-HELP program, the Lt Governor added.
The Lt Governor said that for holistic growth of agriculture & allied sector, we have identified key areas where J&K UT 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, he added.
Noting that Agriculture & allied sector is full of self-confidence today and is marching forward on the path to progress, the Lt Governor informed that an apex committee has already laid down the road map and assured the farmers that no region in the country has developed such model. He further sought participation of all stakeholders for the effective implementation of the recommendations of the apex committee on the ground.
The Lt Governor further said that dedicated efforts of Self Help Groups and Cooperatives are complemented by the government support to strengthen the entire value-chain from milk production, processing to marketing so that farmers can receive higher prices and improve their quality of life.
Milk Self Help Groups and Farmer Producers Organisations established by JKRLM will be called as village level dairy Cooperative Societies and they will become eligible for various benefits provided under different central sector schemes, said the Lt Governor.
Emphasizing that Dairy farmers have played a key role in making J&K UT self-sufficient in milk production, the Lt Governor asked the Animal Husbandry Department and Cooperatives to work closely together at every step to meet the future challenges.
It was informed that 50% cost is being borne by the UT administration to ensure increased ownership of Dairy units by women and weaker sections, and encouraging entrepreneurs to buy milk chilling unit, milk parlor, milk processing unit or milk van.
The Lt Governor made a special mention of Chandni Dairy Farmers Producer Organization in Mitrigam, Pulwama, where 11 women have come together and set a fine example for the entire UT by making unprecedented efforts towards branding and marketing in collaboration with Rural Livelihood Mission and Animal Husbandry Department.
Prevention of Lumpy Skin Disease is one of the major priorities of the government. I am seeking report from the districts from time to time and directed the Animal Husbandry Department and Deputy Commissioners to take special measures for the prevention of the disease, the Lt Governor said.
Sh Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lt Governor congratulated the farmers and Pashu Sakhis for the launch of the two significant initiatives in the Animal Husbandry. This important occasion will lay a strong foundation for achieving the vision of 2027, he added.
Sh Rajesh Kumar Singh, Union Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry said that A-HELP programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit Scheme will provide a paradigm shift in the veterinary healthcare services in J&K. He also shared the vision of central government to bring transformational change in the Animal Husbandry and dairy sectors and encouraging Entrepreneurship-led development.
Sh Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department said, it is a proud moment that J&K has been selected for the pilot launch of the A-HELP programme. He said that new initiatives taken in convergence of two Ministries- Animal Husbandry and Rural development through National Rural Livelihood Mission will help in filling the gap between Animal Husbandry and Veterinary health services.
He further informed that during first phase, the department is aiming to train 3000 pashu Sakhis for Vaccination, ear tagging, first aid treatment, artificial insemination, extension services etc. and they will also get honorarium for their services.
The Additional Chief Secretary also highlighted the steps taken to promote the niche local products like Kaladi, besides increasing the milk production and developing FPOs.
Sh Upamanyu Basu, Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, and Dairying gave detailed information regarding the newly launched A-HELP programme and Mobile Veterinary Unit Schemes.
Dr Arif Bashir threw light on the Past, Present and Future of the Dairy sector of J&K. He also informed about various initiatives taken for the development of the Dairy sector in the UT.
Ms. Shabnam Kamili, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Production and Farmer’s Welfare presented the welcome address.
Ms. Indu Kanwal Chib, Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, on behalf of members of the Self Help Groups thanked the government for taking various initiatives for empowering the women SHGs in the UT.
She said SHGs are ready to be a part of the government’s endeavor for the growth of the milk processing sector and hoped that the JKRLM would be included in various verticals of agriculture.
Pashu Sakhis and Progressive farmers shared their success stories and expressed gratitude to the government for their sustained support.
The Union Minister and the Lt Governor flagged off the fleet of Mobile Veterinary Units to mark the occasion.
Publications including A-HELP Joint Implementation Guidelines and Healthy Animals, Healthy People released by the dignitaries, besides Sanction letters under KCC were handed to the beneficiaries.
Documentary on Integrated Dairy Development Scheme was also showcased on the occasion.
Progressive farmers, Pashu Sakhis, members of J&K Dairy Farmers Association and senior officials of Union and the UT Government were present on the occasion. (GNS)