In a development that may put NCP leader and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar at unease, food minister K V Thomas has written to the Prime Minister to create a separate ministry for animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries to realise the untapped potential in these sectors.
At present, the department is under the ministry of agriculture and cooperation headed by Sharad Pawar.
"I fervently request Prime Minister to kindly consider establishment of a separate ministry with a separate minister exclusively for department of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries," Thomas, who is minister of state with independent charge for food and consumer affairs, said in a letter.
Early this year, Thomas, a Congress MP from Kerala, was elevated as MoS with independent charge after Pawar decided to give up the portfolio of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
"I have a feeling that the department has not so far acquired as much development as it should have been. ...since the department is functioning under ministry of agriculture and cooperation, the pre-dominant attention is paid only towards agriculture, diluting the required attention towards animal husbandry," he pointed out.
Thomas has special interest in fisheries development and was a fisheries minister in the Kerala government in 2001.
The minister had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a couple of months back on this issue emphasising the need for a separate ministry saying there was a lot of potential in this sector with plenty of funds and scope for development.
In the letter, Thomas highlighted that animal husbandry output constitutes over 30% of the country's agricultural sector. The contribution of livestocks and fishery sector to the total GDP has been over 6%.
Besides, India is endowed with a high population of livestock in the world and also the largest producer of milk, he added.