New Delhi: The Animal Welfare Board (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Board ensures implementation of the animal welfare laws in the country in a very diligent manner and provides grants to Animal Welfare Organizations and advice the Centre, States and UTs on animal welfare issues. As per the Act, the Board comprises of of 28 Members including 6 MPs (4 from Lok Sabhas and 2 from Rajya Sabha). “The Board mandate is to prevent cruelty, suffering and pain to all creatures except human beings that is why our slogan is to protect ‘ants to elephants’”, said Shri S.P. Gupta, Chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India. He was addressing media on major initiatives of AWBI in New Delhi.
AWBI MAJOR INITIATIVES
GOCHAR / GRAZING LAND: The most important concern before the Board is the depletion of Gochar / grazing lands for want of which animal sufferings are maximum as they have neither feed , nor fodder including basic necessities. It is pertinent to mention here that due to depletion and encroachment of Gochar land, the animals are facing extreme hardships and suffering. Keeping this in regard, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has directed that the Gochar lands should be protected and preserved and must be used only for the purpose of animal welfare. To implement the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Board has issued the strict advisories to all the States / UTs that Gochar Land shall be used only for animal welfare and encroached gochar land got vacated.
STATE ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD (SAWB) / DISTRICT SOCIETY FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO
ANIMALS (DSPCA) : AWBI has its no network up to the grass root level to prevent cruelty and protection and welfare of Animals. The matter came before Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 2008 were pleased to issue directions for constitution of State Animal Welfare Board at State level, District Animal Welfare Board / District Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at District Level and the Board at National level, thus, a three tier system was to be set-up. Unfortunately, in-spite of Board’s repeated advisories the State and UTs have failed to set-up the said system in its letter and spirit. The Board has recently issued a strict advisory to all the States / UTs to make the three tier system functional at the earliest to enforce the animal welfare laws effectively.
At the same time, the Board is going to launch a massive programme for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Under this programme, the Board has decided to develop a network from State to District level for the purpose. The Animal Cruelty Control Network will be controlled by AWBI with the support of State Governments. It is, therefore, the Board has is nominating animals lovers and activists having good credentials as Honorary District Animal Welfare Officer / Honorary State Animal Welfare Officer and Honorary State Legal Animal Welfare Officer to implement and enforce Animals Laws in the country to minimize the pain and distress of abandoned animals. Further, to prevent misuse of HAWO ID Card, all the existing valid Cards will be expired by July 10th, 2018 and new IDs are being issued to the newly nominated Honorary Animal Welfare Officers.
STRAY ANIMALS : The problem of stray animals especially cows, dogs, cats and monkeys have become rampant in all parts of the country whether it is rural, urban or semi-urban. Therefore, priority would be given to such helpless animals with adequate shelter, feed and water. Accordingly, the advisory has been issued to all the States/ UTs that this being the mandate of local authorities, they should take care of stray animals otherwise it will be treated as cruelty. In addition to prevent cruelty, these authorities have been asked to prevent nuisance like dog / monkey biting etc. by effectively implementing sterilization and immunization program to control their populations.
ADVISORY FOR BETTER COORDINATION:
The AWBI has issued an advisory to all the State Govt. and UT for revival of Cattle Pounds and Kanji Houses which includes that shelters are not to be used beyond their capacity. Further, the Board decided to issue authorisation for inspection and visit the AWOs, system to be followed for tagging of animals, action for appointment of nodal officer, implementation of rules and regulation for licencing of animals and making the officer responsible for implementation of such rules in case of their failure.
IMPLEMENTATION OF CASE PROPERTY ANIMALS RULES, 2017:
The Central Government has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property) Animals Rules, 2017 for the maintenance of animal seized in violation of the Act, and Rules made thereunder along with corrigendum G. S. R. 185 (E) on 23.02.2018 as the State Government has not implemented these rules. Therefore, in the interest of animal welfare, the Board has an advisory to all the State Governments / UTs to take necessary action for implementation of such Rules and meanwhile suggested the minimum rates so that animals may not suffer.
SETTING OF ANIMAL SHELTERS / ANIMALS HOSTELS IN SMART / METRO CITIES
The Board has taken decision to sensitize all the states governments and UTs to implement the vision and directions of Prime Minister for modernizing and developing the cities environment friendly in which special provision with respect to particularly care and concern of the animals should be taken care of. The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has to play a vital role by making Modal Bye-Laws having the provision of Animals Shelters / Animals Shelters in their Smart City and other Metro City Development Plan to make this programme successful on the line of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Board has taken this matter along with the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India and State and UTs Government by making provision of animals shelter / hostel in their city development plan in order to prevent cruelty to animals as well as to protect / save environment. The Board is very particular to take legal action including contempt against those departments and agencies which are violating the directions of Supreme Court. (AWBI Vs A. Nagraja, 2014) as well as advisories of the Board.
To effectively implementation of the above programs and enforcement of supreme court guidelines, the Board has launched a programme to meet the Chief Ministers of every States / UTs along with concerned ministers and officers. The Chairman along with other members of the Board has already met the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand and the results of these meetings are very fruitful and these States have already starting taking adequate steps for prevention of cruelty to animals.
MODIFICATION OF EXISTING SCHEMES OF THE BOARD:
As per the current requirements, the Board has modified the existing schemes as under:
A. AWBI PLAN SCHEME (REGULAR) :
- Financial assistance shall be provided only to Goshalas / Pinjara Poles / AWOs which are maintaining old, diseased and dry animals now onwards.
- Eligible components for assistance include Shelter, fodder, feed, medicines, provision for water, drainage, repair of shelter, value addition to animal’s by-products and their marketing to promote animal welfare and ensure their survival.
- New Provision for financial assistance up to Rs. 50 Lakhs for Development of Gochar land (Minimum area 50 acres) to raise fodder, provide shelter to animals, setting up panchagavya units and Bio-gas units and other related activities.
- Awards to the outstanding organisation and individuals in the field of Animal Welfare.
- Budget demand for 2018-19 is Rs.22 Crore.
B. ANIMALS AFFECTED BY NATURAL CALAMITY:
- Financial assistance will be provided to AWO’s, Local Bodies etc. for taking care of the rescued animals from Natural disaster and calamities.
- Financial assistance is proposed for the animals rescued from illegal transportation, illegal slaughter houses and case property animals etc.
- Immediate relief on the recommendation of SAWB / SPCAs / AWBI authorised inspection team for making Transportation, making temporary sheds, electricity, feed, fodder, temporary manpower, treatment of suffering animals, proper disposal of carcasses etc.
- Budget demand for 2018-19 is Rs.10 Crore.
C. SHELTER HOUSE SCHEME:
- Construction of shelter House, Dispensary, water tank, Drainage system etc.
- Cost effective approved designs by the local authority or by the Board based on number of animals.
- Maximum assistance is up to Rs.22,50,000/-.
- Budget demand for 2018-19 is Rs.10 Crore.
D. ANIMAL AMBULANCE SCHEME:
- For transport of animals, feed and fodder.
- Maximum grant per ambulance / tractor trolly is 4.5 lakhs to Animal Welfare Organisation.
- Additional provision of Ambulance Vehicle with Hotline Number for emergency treatment of animals and the Organization eligible to receive the grants are District SPCAs, Urban local bodies, Panchayats / Govt. Dept. Maximum grant per Ambulance vehicle is Rs.15 lakhs.
- Initially, at least one ambulance with hotline number shall be given in each State / UT.
- Budget demand for 2018-19 is Rs.8 Crore
E. ABC-AR / SPECIAL PILOT PROJECT :
- For Animal Birth Control Programme for dogs and Anti rabies vaccination by Municipalities / Panchayats
- Pilot project: ABC/AR programme to be implemented at least in 2 Municipalities of each State.
- Budget demand for 2018-19 is Rs.30.00 crore.
STREAMLINING OF PERFORMING ANIMALS COMMITTEE (PAC) :
- The PAC has been restructured to bring more transparency / accountability.
- Members of the PAC Committee presently consist of representatives from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PCCF Haryana, Director General-Animal Husbandry Dept. Haryana, Film Producers and Journalist.
- Application for pre-shoot permission / registration and No Objection Certificate (NOC) for performing animals in films etc. shall be online shortly.
- Prior intimation of performing animals has been made compulsory to check any cruelty against animals by the inspection team.
- Simplification of all type of forms i.e. Recognition, Financial Assistance (Grants), Performing Animals application and making these all applications online from current financial year shortly.
- Conducting of training courses for Honorary District Animal Welfare Officer / Honorary State Animal Welfare Officer and Honorary State Legal Animal Welfare Officer, Judicial Officers, State Levels Nodal Officers, Police Officers and others by the Board will commence on 1st July 2018.
- To ensure that if any AWOs maintaining shelter for more than five years, either the land should be regularised in their name to get shelter and other grants or the local body shall take the responsibility of maintaining such AWOs.
5. To start the inspection of slaughter houses on regular basis to ensure that the animals are slaughtered in humane manner and in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001 as amended, the Food Safety and Standard (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011 and other rules and regulations. Regular monitoring of Slaughter Houses with the coordination of State Government / local bodies to take action against illegal slaughter houses.
1. To set up animals helpline to provide medical help to sick animals in every District.
- Launching of campaign against sacrifice of animals.
- To take up the cause of animals with the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. Of India / State / UTs / Urban Development and Planning Departments for making provision of shelter/Animal hostel in all smart/metro cities preferably on Gochar land and on vacant/ uncultivable land of the States/UTs to avoid animals are being thrown out of the cities and taken for slaughter.
- To take up with the Chief Secretary / Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue for collection data of Gochar land and make provision for stray, dry animals for their fodder and feed, shelter by vacating the encroached Gochar land and not to use it for any other purpose in order to implement the order / directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
- Successful handling of Jallikattu event without any reported cases of cruelty.