Taking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call of adopting the Indian breed of dogs and cats, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying headed by Giriraj Singh has charted on a mission to develop, conserve and export desi or indigenous breeds of these stray animals. The ministry’s renewed interest in looking after the desi breeds comes after PM Modi’s speech last year where he batted for the public to adopt the Indian varieties, rather than looking for exotic foreign breeds, whilst simultaneously giving a fillip to India’s ‘self-reliant’ campaign.
According to a Print report, a month after PM Modi’s speech, the ministry had drafted a proposal to the cabinet secretariat. The proposal included plans for identification, characterisation, registration, survey, and conservation of indigenous dogs and cats and establishing breeding and training units for selective local varieties of these animals.
The other plan included in the draft proposal was dog population management with special emphasis on the strays, through reproductive control, promoting responsible dog ownership, and strengthening regulatory framework to reduce the dog bite cases in humans.
However, the proposal was sent back by the Cabinet Secretariat in January 2021, which asked Giriraj Singh’s ministry to hold inter-ministerial consultations on the issue.
“Other ministries have replied, but we are yet to get a nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Both are key ministries. Once they send a reply we will again send the proposal to the cabinet secretariat,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the publication.
Hailing the role of dogs in leading security operations in the country, PM Modi, in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme last year in August, had remarked that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research was conducting research on dogs of Indian breed.
“Their purpose is to make Indian breeds better and more useful. Next time when you think of keeping a dog then you must bring one of the Indian breed dogs home. When self-reliant India is becoming the mantra of the masses then no area should be left behind,” PM Modi had said.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 30, 2020
There is a general perception amongst the public that foreign breeds of dogs and cats are much more superior to the Indian counterparts. However, the reality cannot be far from it. Indian breeds have strong immunity and they usually do not get infections or allergies common in their foreign counterparts. They also require low maintenance.
PM Modi had also talked about how the Indian breeds can help the nation in times of disaster management and rescue operations. He said, “Dogs play an essential role in Disaster Management and Rescue Missions. National Disaster Response Force trains dozens of such dogs for the rescue operations. These dogs help during earthquakes, building collapse, and other situations where they help find people under the debris.”
Indian breeds such as Mudhol Hound, Himachali Hound, Rajapalayam, Kanni, Chippiparai and Kombai are among the best breeds of dogs found in India. These breeds are habitual to the Indian weather and habitat, the owner of such dogs have to spend much less on their upbringing.
As a result, the Indian security forces are including Indian breeds in the K9 units. Army, CISF and NSG have trained Mudhol Hound for their respective dog squads. CRPF has included Kombai dogs in their units, which explains the high quality of the Indian variants.
PM Modi has always been a standout leader for taking up issues that no other mainstream leader dares to even think about. From talking about toilets and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in his first Independence Day speech at the Red Fort to making sure that Indian breeds of dogs are adopted, PM Modi has always broken the glass ceiling.