The subsidised sheep distribution scheme, an ambitious programme of the State government for economic empowerment of the Golla and Kuruma (shepherd) communities in the State, is proving to be a major success story, with about 2.06 lakh units of sheep distributed in just seven months, and an asset base of Rs 700 crore for the communities expected to be created by April/May 2018.
According to details of sheep distribution released by Telangana State Sheep and Goat Development Cooperative Federation (TSSGDCF) on Monday, the scheme, the brainchild of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, had so far seen distribution of 45 lakh sheep benefitting over two lakh members from these communities. Each unit distributed to the beneficiaries comprises 20 sheep and a ram. That the scheme has emerged as a success is clear from the fact that the sheep population in the State has gone up to over one crore, including 15.5 lakh sheep reproduced after the launch of the scheme on June 20, 2017.
The government had set a target set of 3.20 lakh units of sheep for distribution for the year 2017-18, and against this, the federation had received 3.6 lakh application so far of which 40,000 had backed out for various reasons, Federation Managing Director Dr V Laxma Reddy told Telangana Today. The total population of these communties in the State is about 35 lakh.
Opposition parties had mocked the government for launching the scheme and wondered how such huge numbers of sheep could be procured for distribution among the large population of beneficiaries.
The government, not leaving any stone unturned to make the scheme a success, roped in senior bureaucrats too to visit various States to ensure procurement. Sheep was purchased not only from neighbouring States such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra but also from Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. And the entire exercise was carried out in a transparent manner in a short period, Laxma Reddy said, adding that the government had so far spent spent Rs 1,877 crore on the 75 per cent subsidy for procuring sheep while the beneficiaries had contributed another Rs 625 crore as part of their share.
“By May, the members of these two communities will have Rs 700 crore worth of sheep and this is by any standards no mean achievement,” he said. The Chief Minister regularly reviews the progress of the scheme and has made district Collectors accountable for effective and successful implementation of the scheme.
Besides distribution of sheep, the government also sanctioned Rs 6 crore for the insurance of the sheep and for the first time in the country, the State government launched 100 mobile veterinary clinics for livestock healthcare. The mobile clinics are stationed in 100 Assembly constituencies and can be easily accessed through a toll free number.
To ensure proper fodder for sheep, the government has also allowed the shepherd community to utilise forest lands for grazing. The government is also facilitating construction of sheds and water tubs under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS).