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Modi’s new mission: Propel livestock production to increase India’s GDP

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livestock production Narendra Modi with Cow
Mathura: PM Modi visits Pashu Vigyan Evam Arogya Mela in Mathura on Sep 11, 2019. (Photo: PIB)

New Delhi, Oct 17 : Propelling livestock production into ‘mission mode’ would be one of the keys for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in achieving his ambitious target of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. After brainstorming serial meetings with livestock experts, top veterinary scientists and key officials of the Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministry, Modi has launched three game-changing schemes which can turn around the growth story of millions of livestock farmers in India. The Government estimates that in the next five years, livestock farmers will not only save losses worth Rs 2.50 lakh crore, but will increase their income four times, contributing a major share in India’s GDP.

On boosting the Indian economy through significant increase in livestock production, Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying told IANS: “The government’s determination to increase livestock production will certainly improve the economy in a big way. The three schemes launched by the Centre are unprecedented in scale. At the moment, we are carrying a mammoth exercise to assess the expected contribution of livestock production in the economy.”

One of the most senior IAS officers in the Modi government, Chaturvedi said that extraordinary efforts are being made to implement some of the biggest schemes (in the animal husbandry sector) in the world. “We are hopeful that it would lead to a fourfold increase in farmers’ income by 2024,” said Chaturvedi, a zoologist-turned-bureaucrat, who was earlier holding a key position in the Union Ministry of Commerce.

How focused the Modi government is on the livestock production is evident from its very first cabinet meeting. A source in the PMO revealed that soon after taking oath as Prime Minister for the second term, Modi presided over meetings related to animal husbandry issues. Subsequently, the very first decision of Modi’s first cabinet meeting was approval of a Rs 13,000 crore scheme for the benefit of livestock farmers.

“By 2017-18, Prime Minister Modi (in his first term) had decided to push the animal husbandry and dairy (sector) into mission mode because he realised that growth in this sector is over 6 per cent whereas the yearly growth in the agriculture sector is just half, at a meagre 3 per cent. The government was convinced that if livestock production is stimulated, the growth in animal husbandry and dairy could be raised up to 12 to 15 per cent, heralding a revolution in the agriculture market,” said a key official, implementing vaccination of bovines across the country.

Another area of concern for PM Modi has been very low dairy exports. Despite being the world’s largest milk producer, India could never break into the list of top 15 milk and dairy exporting countries. The main reason for this was that India’s major bovine population was affected by several diseases including the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The high sanitation norms and health parameters in western countries rejected import of Indian milk and dairy products. The situation was similar in other livestock products. Besides, the average yearly production of milk per cow was not even one fourth. Government data reveals an Indian cow’s average yearly milk production is around 2,000 kg while in the US, the figure crosses the 10,000 kg mark. In Israel, the average yearly milk production by a single cow is nearly 12,000 kg which raises questions about the very low milk yield per cow in India.

On issues which hinder the growth of livestock production in the country, Chaturvedi identified three key problems were the biggest barriers for farmers for yielding less profit.

“Prevailing diseases in farm animals, poor nutrition value (of fodder provided to them) and low quality of breeding are the main reasons behind sluggish growth. The government is addressing all these problems. For instance, a large force of volunteers will undertake the world’s biggest-ever vaccination drive by injecting 1,056 million doses every year. The result would definitely free Indian bovines from FMD, resulting in wide acceptance of Indian milk and dairy products across the world,” said Chaturvedi, a 1986 batch IAS officer of Assam and Meghalaya cadre.

Recently, when PM Modi launched a cattle vaccination programme in Mathura, he also laid emphasis on developing best breeds in livestock. A much better breed of cattle would enable the farmers to pocket six-to-eight times more profit than what they are usually earning now. India has also hired the services of two American companies, considered to be the most advanced in artificial insemination technology to produce healthier livestock. The farmers would now have a choice of breeding only cows rather than bulls. The new technology of insemination provides sex-sorted semen wherein the farmers can ensure that only female calves are born. The inseminated cows using semen of genetically superior bulls can also ensure increased milk production and better fertility.

Policy makers in the government’s think tank, Niti Aayog, are also hopeful that by increasing livestock production in quality and quantity, rural India can contribute to India’s GDP in a significant way. According to a Niti Aayog official, animal husbandry and dairying can reap profits up to ten times more when compared with agriculture production by and large limited to kharif or rabi crops.

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Male sex hormones may help treat breast cancer: Study

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

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Sydney : Researchers have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens, commonly thought of as male sex hormones but also found at lower levels in women, in breast cancer treatment.

In normal breast development, estrogen stimulates and androgen inhibits growth at puberty and throughout adult life.

Abnormal estrogen activity is responsible for the majority of breast cancers, but the role of androgen activity in this disease has been controversial.

The new research published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that androgens have potential for treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

A cancer is called estrogen receptor positive if it has receptors for estrogen, according to Breastcancer.org.

Using cell-line and patient-derived models, the global team, including researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, demonstrated that androgen receptor activation by natural androgen or a new androgenic drug had potent anti-tumour activity in all estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, even those resistant to current standard-of-care treatments.

In contrast, androgen receptor inhibitors had no effect.

“This work has immediate implications for women with metastatic estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, including those resistant to current forms of endocrine therapy,” said lead researcher Theresa Hickey, Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide.

“We provide compelling new experimental evidence that androgen receptor stimulating drugs can be more effective than existing (e.g. Tamoxifen) or new (e.g. Palbociclib) standard-of-care treatments and, in the case of the latter, can be combined to enhance growth inhibition,” said Wayne Tilley, Director of the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.

Androgens were historically used to treat breast cancer, but knowledge of hormone receptors in breast tissue was rudimentary at the time and the treatment’s efficacy misunderstood.

Androgen therapy was discontinued due to virilising side effects and the advent of anti-estrogenic endocrine therapies.

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

“The new insights from this study should clarify the widespread confusion over the role of the androgen receptor in estrogen receptor driven breast cancer,” said Elgene Lim, a breast oncologist and Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute.

“Given the efficacy of this treatment strategy at multiple stages of disease in our study, we hope to translate these findings into clinical trials as a new class of endocrine therapy for breast cancer.”

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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Elizabeth Olsen: Nepotism creates fear that you don’t deserve the work you get

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

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Elizabeth Olsen

Los Angeles, Jan 19 : Hollywood star Elizabeth Olsen says she once thought of changing her surname and distance herself from the success of her family because it was insanity growing up in the spotlight.

“It was insanity. There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out. It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career,” said the actress, whose older sisters are Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

Elizabeth opened up om the fears of nepotism.

“The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don’t earn or deserve the work. There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought if I’m gonna be an actress I’m going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name. And then, once I started working, I was like, ‘I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?’ It’s fine now,” she said.

The actress said fame has made her more of a homebody.

“Fame has also made me someone who is more of a homebody than maybe I would like to be but I know where not to go. If I could do whatever I wanted for the day, I’d start with the gym, then I’d go to the grocery store, because it’s my favourite thing,” Elizabeth told The Sun.

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