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women vets on way
Of the total students in veterinary colleges and universities in India, 70 per cent students are girls and as a career oriented professional programme, veterinary science will assure placements to the students, says Dr TP Sethumadhavan
Recent trends reveal that more number of girls are interested to study Veterinary science across the globe. Their interest is towards veterinary services, rural development, pet animal care, academics and research. Of the total students in Veterinary colleges and Universities in India, 70 per cent students are girls. Moreover, they consider this as a noble profession catering the needs of the farming community. Girl students from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry opt for Veterinary Science as their first choice for higher education. Lady vets are more prevalent in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Research and development centres across the globe employ more lady veterinarians and veterinary scientists.
There exists a huge gap between availability and requirement of veterinary graduates in the country. India needs a total of 72,000 veterinarians, in comparison with the current availability of about 43,000 to look after huge livestock population and to fill positions in 50,000 academic, R&D, extension and field institutions.
The contribution of the livestock sector to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 4.11%, and it contributes about 26.84% of the value of the output from total agriculture and allied activities. As a career-oriented professional programme, Veterinary science will assure placements to the students.
Veterinary Science graduate programme in India is of a five-year duration. Students who complete plus two with Physics, Chemistry and Biology can apply for the programme. The 10-semester programme includes one semester for internship.
Graduates can work with dairy, poultry and other livestock farms and value addition units or industry. They can also work as veterinarians in Government, academia, civil services (IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc), Indian Forest Service cadre, research institutions, public sector or private institutions. They can also associate with milk co-operatives, industry, pharma companies, corporate, banks, insurance and IT-enabled sector.
Veterinary science has huge higher education and research prospects across the world. Developed countries like the US, UK, EU and Australia, are giving more emphasis to veterinary science research. Success rate for veterinary science graduates in civil services and Indian Forest Service examinations is comparatively higher when compared to other disciplines. It has several prospective areas which include large, small and pet animal care.
Various disciplines include veterinary physiology, biotechnology, anatomy, clinical medicine, preventive medicine, dairy science, meat technology, livestock production management, biochemistry, molecular biology, anatomy, microbiology, parasitology, animal breeding, genetics, animal reproduction, veterinary surgery, animal nutrition and pharmacology. It also includes laboratory animal production, animal welfare, zoo animal medicine, wildlife science, conservation, food safety, entrepreneurship, food technology, sustainability issues, marketing, value addition, animal welfare, veterinary nursing, trade-related issues, residue monitoring and organic farming. This sector is closely related to public health and control of zoonotic diseases. There are huge prospects for interdisciplinary research.
Entrepreneurship and start-ups are emerging as a potential area in veterinary science. Many states are implementing 24x7 veterinary services, including advisory services in the country. A lot of super speciality veterinary clinics have started emerging. Ophthalmology, orthopaedics, breeding, cardiology, internal medicine, canine medicine and nephrology are some popular speciality areas.
The livestock sector is emerging well with an annual growth rate of over five per cent. For every one per cent growth in agriculture, the livestock sector needs to grow 2.5 per cent per annum. This sector contributes one-third of the total GDP in agriculture in the country.
The livestock sector plays an important role in rural livelihood, employment and income generation. Major livestock products like milk and milk products, meat and eggs contribute around one-sixth of the calories and one-third of the proteins in the per capita food supplies of the world.
Animal husbandry is the second largest economic activity of rural India. In arid and semi-arid regions, livestock sector ranks first in earnings to skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled populations. Animal husbandry is a growth engine and annual growth rate in dairying is six per cent and in poultry it is 11 per cent and will alleviate rural poverty and uplift the rural farmer. If the country has to sustain economically, livestock sector has to be strengthened.
The availability of per capita animal protein is 10.8g whereas the requirement as per world average is 25g. National sample survey reports that 70-75 per cent of their food budget is for milk and milk products. The need of the hour is an increase in production, productivity and improvement in the marketing channel. In the case of failure in agriculture, livestock sector gives insurance to any intervals of agriculture failure.
With regard to production and consumption of milk, it is a golden era in the dairy sector. Milk production is increasing in Asia and India and increasing prices are favourable to developing countries.
The International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN), Germany, reported that India has lowest cost of milk production when compared to developed countries. India has around 300 million numbers of cows and buffalos in dairy production and is the global leader in milk production: about 135 million tons a year.
Linking quality production of livestock products with lucrative incentives and popularisation of traditional products technology can facilitate quantum jump in this industry.
Food Safety and Standards Act 2016 envisages food safety officers’ post for veterinary graduates.
Divisibility, value addition and export of meat and meat products need to be strengthened for generating more employment as well as trade benefits.
With improved domestic production and marketing efficiency, better access to expanding global market, India has the potential to become more competitive in the export of milk and its products.
The Veterinary Council of India is the regulatory body of veterinary education in India.
The admission process for Bachelor in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry is through an entrance examination. Students get selected either through their meritorious ranks in the entrance examinations or with passion towards animal welfare and pet animal care.
There has been a change in the entrance examination pattern for admission to Veterinary Science under the graduate programme at the State and national levels.
As many as 15 per cent seats in veterinary colleges are filled through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The rest 85 per cent are through State-level entrance test. But some States like Kerala select students based on the NEET ranks. They now need to apply through State entrance commissioner’s KEAM portal.
There are a few veterinary colleges which allocate five per cent of their seats through NRI quota. Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Punjab, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are some such States.
Where to study
Premier institutions include the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Sri Venkateswara University and the Karnataka Veterinary and Fisheries Sciences University.
The writer is Director of UL Education, Kozhikode and former Director of Entrepreneurship at Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University
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