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Changing Shift towards women in veterinary profession

Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

 Recent trends reveal that more number of girls are interested to study Veterinary science across the globe. Their interest is towards compassion, veterinary services, rural development, pet animal care, academics and research. Of the total students in Veterinary colleges and Universities in India, more than 70 percent students are girls. Moreover they consider this as a noble profession catering the needs of the farming community. Lady vets are more prevalent in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. Research and development centres across the globe employ more lady veterinarians and Veterinary scientists. There are girl students from Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Puducherry where their first choice for higher education is Veterinary Science.

 Veterinary Science is emerging as one of the potential areas of higher education and research across the World. Recently there exists a huge gap between availability and requirement of Veterinary graduates in the country. Currently 75 percent of Veterinary Science students are girls. They have selected the course either through their meritorious ranks in the Entrance examinations or with passion towards animal welfare, pet animal care, etc. Admission process for Bachelor in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry is through Entrance examinations.
Recently there is a change in Entrance Examination for admission to Veterinary Science under graduate programme at the State and National level. It has emerged as the launching pad for bright students in the country. Veterinary Council of India is the regulatory body of Veterinary education in India. Fifteen percent of seats in Veterinary colleges of the country are filled through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Rest 85 percent is through State level Entrance examinations. But certain states like Kerala used to select students based on the NEET ranks. But they also need to apply through state entrance commissioner’s KEAM portal. There are a few Veterinary Colleges in the country which allocate five percent of their seats through NRI quota. Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Punjab, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are some of the few such states.
There are 42 Veterinary colleges including Veterinary Universities in the country. Some of the premier institutions include Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Sri Venkiteswara University, Karnataka Veterinary and Fisheries Sciences University etc.
Veterinary Science graduate programme in India is of five year duration. Students who completed plus two with Physics, Chemistry and Biology can apply for the programme. The 10 semester programme includes one semester for internship.
Diverse disciplines
Students after graduation can work in Government, Academia, Civil services (IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc), Indian Forest service cadre, research institutions, Public sector or private institutions as Veterinarians. 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 United States of America, UK, EU, Australia, etc are giving more emphasis to Veterinary science research. Success rate for Veterinary Science graduates in Civil services and Indian Forest Service examination is comparatively higher when compared to other disciplines. It has several prospective areas which include large animals, small animals 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, Pharmacology, laboratory animal production, animal welfare, zoo animal medicine, wild life science, Conservation, food safety, Entrepreneurship, food technology, sustainability issues, marketing, value addition, Animal welfare, Veterinary nursing, trade related issues, residue monitoring, organic farming, etc. This sector is closely related to public health and control of zoonotic diseases. Globally One health is emerging as an integrated system for human, animal in harmonious with nature across the globe. So there are huge prospects for interdisciplinary research. Graduates can work with dairy, poultry and other livestock farms and value addition units or industry.
Entrepreneurship, Start-ups & Speciality sector
Recently entrepreneurship and startups are emerging as one of the potential areas in Veterinary science. Many states are implementing 24X7 Veterinary services including advisory services in the country. Lot of super speciality veterinary clinics have started emerging in the country. Ophthalmology, orthopaedics, breeding, cardiology, internal medicine, canine medicine, nephrology etc. are emerging as some of the speciality areas.
Recently as part of agribusiness, livestock sector is emerging as one of the potential areas with the annual growth rate of over 5 percent in the country. For every one percent growth in agriculture livestock sector need to grow 2.5 percent per annum. It is comparatively easy in India when compared to Agriculture growth. This sector contributes 1/3rd of the total GDP in Agriculture in the country.
 
Food security and Food safety issues
           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 6 % and in poultry it is 11% 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% of their food budget is for milk and milk products. The need of the hour is increase in production, productivity and improvement in the marketing channel. In the case of failure in agriculture, livestock sector forms the source of income and 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. Organized sector grows more than 10% per annum. Milk production is increasing in Asia and India and increasing prices are favourable to developing countries. 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.
        Veterinary Professionals have lot of opportunities in India. Among various livestock products, there exists a huge gap between production and consumption. While buffalo meat is the major item of Indian meat export, accounting for 39%, share of Indian meat in the world market is less than two per cent. Linking quality production of livestock products with lucrative incentives and popularization 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 milk products.
As a sequele to growth in services sector, Veterinary graduates prefer to work in IT, ITeS, agribusiness, retail, banking and insurance sectors across the globe.
Demand supply mismatch
                         A quantitative analysis of the supply and demand of veterinary manpower in India: implications for policy decisions done by P.V.K. Sasidhar(Associate Professor, School of Extension and Development Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi)   & P. Gopal Reddy(Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, Tuskegee University, United States of America)  reveals that India needs 72,000 graduate veterinarians, but the current availability is about 43,000. India has 42 veterinary colleges in the public sector and only two colleges in the private sector. Consequently, as in the case of education systems in medicine, engineering and management, private entrepreneurs need to be motivated to participate in veterinary education. Recently Government of India has started thinking in this line. 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.
(Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan is Director of UL Education, Kozhikode and former Director of Entrepreneurship at Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, E mail-tpsethu2000@gmail.com)
 
 
 
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