General Studies Paper 3 (Indian Economy)
Question:- 41. Examine the role of livestock rearing for Indian economy. Also discuss the challenges involved in livestock rearing. Answer in 250 words.
Aug 17, 2022



Talk about the topic: India has a rich heritage of animal rearing. It is home to several breeds of cattle, small ruminants, fowl, pigs, and equine species among others.

Give some data and stress upon its importance: India has vast livestock resources and the sector contributes 4.11% to total GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP. Livestock or animal rearing plays an important role in the Indian economy because about 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock provides livelihood to two-thirds of rural people in India.

Conclude the intro: Livestock are an integral component of agriculture in India and make multifaceted contributions to the growth and development of the agricultural sector which includes animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries sector plays a significant role in the national economy and in the socio-economic development of the country.


LINKAGE POINT: This sector has the following roles to play in Indian economy:




  1. 1.Food :
  • The livestock products such as milk, meat and eggs are an important source of animal protein.
  • India is number one milk producer in the world.


  1. 2.Fibre and skins:
  • The livestock also contributes to the production of wool, hair, hides, and pelts.
  • Leather is the most important product which has a very high export potential.


  1. 3.Draft:
  • Bullocks are the back bone of Indian agriculture.
  • Despite lot of advancements in the use of mechanical power in Indian agricultural operations, the Indian farmer especially in rural areas still depend upon bullocks for various agricultural operations
  • The farmers especially the marginal and small depend upon bullocks for ploughing, carting and transport of both inputs and outputs.
  • Pack animals like camels, horses, donkeys, ponies, mules etc. are being extensively used to transport goods in different parts of the country in addition to bullocks.
  • In situations like hilly terrains mules and ponies serve as the only alternative to transport goods. Similarly, the army has to depend upon these animals to transport various items in high areas of high altitude.


  1. 4.Weed control:
  • Livestock are also used as Biological control of brush, plants and weeds.


  1. Sports / recreation:
  • People also use the animals like cocks, rams, bulls etc. for competition and sports.


  1. 6.Gender equity:
  • Animal husbandry promotes gender equality. More than 3/4th of the labour demand in livestock production is met by women.
  • The share of women employment in the livestock sector is around 90% in Punjab and Haryana where dairying is a prominent activity and animals are stall-fed.


  1. 7.Social security:
  • Livestock owners can fall back on the income generated from livestock in case of crop failures.
  • Livestock are the best insurance against the drought, famine and other natural calamities. Majority of the livestock population is concentrated in the marginal and small size of holdings. Further, agricultural productions get valuable organic manure provided by the livestock. In rural areas dung is used for several purposes which include fuel (dung cakes), fertilizer (farm yard manure), and plastering material (poor man’s cement).


  1. 8.Employment and subsidiary income:
  • A large number of people in India being less literate and unskilled depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods. But agriculture being seasonal in nature could provide employment for a maximum of 180 days in a year.
  • The landless and less land people depend upon livestock for utilizing their labour during lean agricultural season.
  • The farmers in India maintain mixed farming system i.e. a combination of crop and livestock where the output of one enterprise becomes the input of another. Cows and buffaloes if in milk will provide regular income to the livestock farmers through sale of milk.



As can be seen, India depends heavily on livestock sector. However, the livestock sector faces many challenges like prevalence of animal diseases, inadequate availability of feed and fodder and issues related to biosecurity and sustainability. In order to improve the productivity of livestock in a sustainable manner, the government has formulated the National Livestock Policy, 2013.

(Write the names of schemes such as Rashtriya Gokul Mission or research organizations involved for betterment of livestock in your state)