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Livestock Schemes: Centre to Depute National Level Monitors for Oversight

The appointment terms of reference for National Level Monitors (NLM) stipulate that they will engage in two distinct monitoring activities namely regular monitoring and special monitoring.

Shivangi Rai
These programmes will also be monitored by the National Level Monitors. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)
These programmes will also be monitored by the National Level Monitors. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)

The Indian government has taken a significant step to enhance the oversight of its livestock-related schemes, such as the National Livestock Mission and Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying is set to deploy National Level Monitors (NLMs) to ensure the effective implementation of these programs.

Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary of the Department, mentioned that a scheme for NLMs has been approved, and the process of empanelling these monitors has already begun, with the entire procedure expected to take about one to one-and-a-half months.

In addition to the National Livestock Mission and Rashtriya Gokul Mission, the Department of Animal Husbandry oversees other crucial programs like the National Programme for Dairy Development and the Livestock Health and Disease Control program. All of these initiatives will be subject to monitoring by the NLMs.

The NLMs will perform two types of monitoring: regular and special. The objectives of this monitoring are multifaceted. They aim to ensure that the Ministry's programs are being executed in accordance with the guidelines set by the Ministry itself and that the prescribed implementation processes are being followed.

Moreover, the NLMs will gauge the opinions of villagers regarding these programs, solicit suggestions for improvements, and evaluate whether the selection of beneficiaries is transparent, unbiased, and fair.

The NLMs also mandated whether an assessment of incentives to para vets, technicians, and farmers have been distributed as intended under the scheme or not. Additionally, they will scrutinize whether data related to vaccination, disease monitoring, and artificial insemination is being accurately uploaded in real-time on the National Digital Livestock Mission platform.

In cases of serious complaints from people's representatives and farmers concerning fund misutilization or irregularities, NLMs may be dispatched for fact-finding or preliminary investigations, subject to the Secretary's approval.

Currently, the Department employs various methods to monitor the implementation of these schemes, including monthly, quarterly, and yearly progress reports, management information systems, regional review meetings, and video conferencing sessions with participating states.

This emphasis on monitoring the implementation of animal husbandry and dairying schemes at the national level is crucial, considering the rising contribution of this sector to the country's economy. The Department has decided to engage NLMs to ensure that monitoring is "unbiased and objective." These NLMs will be independent third-party monitors, consisting of both individuals and institutions selected by the government. Individual NLMs will be chosen from retired Civil and Defense Services Officers, as well as academia.

It is worth noting that the Ministry of Rural Development has previously deployed NLMs to oversee their schemes. Recently, NLM teams identified irregularities in the execution of the NREGS and PMAY-G schemes in various states.

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying highlighted the growing significance of the livestock sector in agriculture. The sector's contribution to agricultural output has increased from 24.32 percent in 2014-2015 to 30.87 percent in 2020-21. It has experienced a compounded annual growth rate of 7.93 percent (at constant prices) from 2014-15 to 2020-21. The value of the output from the livestock sector reached Rs 14.49 lakh crore at current prices in 2020-21, as per National Account Statistics 2022. Notably, the value of milk output alone exceeds Rs 9.31 lakh crore, surpassing the combined value of paddy and wheat, making it the highest among all agricultural products.

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