Huge disparity found in livestock census and NSSO data

This has happened in past surveys also, say experts

By Jitendra
Published: Friday 02 January 2015

CSE file photo

The figures in the 19th livestock census report and the recently released survey report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) don’t tally. While the census report that was released this September shows that number of sheep and goats stood at 200 million in the 2012-13, the 70th round of National Sample Survey showed a huge decline in their number to 99 million.

Similarly, the census report shows the number of poultry at 729 million in 2012-13, while NSSO survey shows a huge decline in their number at 255 million (see table).

The livestock sector contributes nearly 25.6 per cent (at current prices) of total value of output in agriculture, fishing and forestry sector. The overall contribution of livestock sector in total GDP was 4.11 per cent at current prices during 2012-13.

The 19th census of livestock started in 2012 and the results were announced in September 2014. The NSSO survey report was released in December.

NSSO and livestock census data differ
Category Census,2012
(in million)
NSSO 2012-13
(in million)
Cattle 190 135
Buffalo 108 69
Bovine 299 204
Sheep+goat 200 99
Pig 10 6
Poultry 729 255

The NSSO report, “Key Indicators of Land and Livestock in India”, also differs from census data on trends.
But at the same time, the census figures differ from NSSO data on trends. While the census figure was showing a marginal decline in the number of sheep, goat and pigs, NSSO survey indicated increase in their population in recent years.

NSSO data on livestock population trend
Livestock/poultry 59th round (2002-03) In millions 70th round (2012-13) In millions
Sheep and Goat 95 99
Pig 5 6
Poultry 182 255

Census data on livestock population trend
Livestock/poultry 2007 In millions 2012 In millions
Sheep and Goat 211 200
Pig 11.1 10.2
Poultry 648 729

Till 2007, the number of goats had been shown as increasing in the livestock census, but in 2012 their number decreased. Experts were unable to explain the decline. But at the same time NSSO data showed an increase in the number of goats, contradicting assessment of the 2012 livestock census.
Experts say that such mismatch of data on livestock is not new and that this was apparent in past survey reports also but that the ministry concerned never looked into the matter.

“There were several occasions when census and NSSO data were different, including in 1982, 1992, 1997,” says P S Brithal, principal scientist at the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi.

Another expert says timings of start of the census may have some effect on the figures. “The number of goats has not changed dramatically. The census started on October 15, 2010 and it was festival season when consumption of goats and the reduction in their numbers is inevitable,” says Kamal Kishore, coordinator, Rainfed Livestock Network, Anand, Gujarat.

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