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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Thomas urges PM for a separate ministry for dairy & fishery

PTI  New Delhi, July 17, 2011
First Published: 12:02 IST(17/7/2011) | Last Updated: 12:04 IST(17/7/2011)

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.

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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.


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