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II. The Changing Environment and the Indian Dairy Industry

The agricultural policy objective of the Indian government, as in most developing countries, has evolved from one of concentrating on achieving self-sufficiency and food security concerns into one of enhancing the sustainable development of a competitive agriculture. Increasing attention has been directed toward the allied sectors such as livestock and fisheries. Livestock in general and dairying in particular play a vital role in the Indian economy. The contribution of the livestock sector to total national gross domestic product (GDP) was 5.9 percent in 2000-01, with the milk group making the highest contribution to the total value of the agriculture and allied sector (Rs. 1,44,088 crore). An estimated 20 million people are employed in the livestock sector in principal (11 million) and subsidiary (9 million) status (GOI, 2003). Women constitute about 70 percent of the labor force in livestock farming. As the ownership of livestock is more evenly distributed among landless laborers and marginal farmers, the progress of this sector results in a more balanced development of the rural economy.

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