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  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    4th Mar, 2020

The government recently unveiled SUTRA PIC programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows.


The government recently unveiled SUTRA PIC programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows.


  • SUTRA PIC: It stands for Scientific Utilization Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows.
  • Funding: The initiative is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It is to be funded by multiple scientific ministries.
  • Partners: Department of Biotechnology, CSIR, the Ministry for AYUSH, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), among others.
  • Objective: The initiative aims to perform scientific research on complete characterization of milk and milk products derived from Indian indigenous cows.
    • It will implement scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods.
    • It also aims to develop standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cow
  • Themes:
    • Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine and Health
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Applications
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food and Nutrition
    • Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items

Livestock census

  • According to the 20th livestock census, livestock population in India rises 4.6% to nearly 536 million.
    • The indigenous cattle has decreased by 8.94%.
    • The exotic/crossbred population has increased by 20.18%.
  • Reasons for decline of indigenous breed: Cross-breeding with exotic breeds; being economically less viable; losing utility; reduction in herd size; large-scale mechanisation of agricultural operation.
  • Implications of decline in indigenous cattle:
    • Due to continuous fall in productivity, indigenous breeds of cattle have become
    • Farmers find other animals such as buffaloes, goats and sheep more productive.
    • Unlike cows, if they become unproductive, they can be sold and slaughtered for further processing.
    • Fall in indigenous breeds can have long term health and environmental impact; because the milk of indigenous breed has higher nutritional value than that of crossbreeds.
    • There is also danger of losing these indigenous breeds.
    • This has caused disruption in cattle economy which may adversely impact farm incomes also.

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