In this article we will discuss about the scope and opportunities for veterinary graduates in India.
It is one of the old professions. It has reference in Atharveda (1500-500 BC) on horse management and treatment, elephant management and health care, etc. Emperor Ashoka, the great son of Chandra Gupta Maurya provided a new turn to veterinary science in India. It is described that world’s first veterinary hospital on record existed in Ashoka’s regime. During his period human and animal hospitals existed side by side. Medicines and herbs were regularly supplied to both human and animal hospitals, when needed. Hospitals had well-defined wards, where patients were treated indoors.
The period of renaissance saw a decline of veterinary science. Around 1791-99 due to long scale epidemics and economic losses the interest in veterinary science aroused. The first training school came into existence in 1862 in Pune. In 1882, the first veterinary college was established at Lahore. This was followed by establishment of other colleges, viz. Bombay in 1884, Bengal in 1893, Madras in 1902-03 and Bihar in 1930. At the time of independence, there were nine veterinary colleges in India.
Importance of Veterinary Profession:
The old objectives of veterinary education for producing graduates to undertake practice of veterinary medicine is no longer relevant in the present context. The contribution of livestock sector towards national gross domestic product has shown an increasing trend during the last two decades whereas the agriculture sector is facing a decline in GDP.
Livestock not only caters to the food production but also contributes for draught power and organic manure. Thus, livestock has emerged as an important source for both income and employment generation of millions of people. The 90% of our livestock is being held by landless, small and marginal farmers which have made better distribution of livestock wealth compared to agricultural land.
Apart from the well-recognized role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in animals, a veterinarian plays a critical role in number of areas including human health, research and development. Veterinarians also play important role in drug development and pharmaceutical industry, food industry, government and regulatory affairs, teaching and research; civil services, etc.
Veterinary Education in India:
Veterinary education in India today forms an integral component of Land Grant System of education. There are 41 veterinary colleges which offer recognized graduate veterinary qualifications. They are affiliated to either state agricultural universities or veterinary universities.
At present, there are 7 veterinary universities and 37 state agricultural universities and 2 deemed universities (IVRI and NDRI) dealing with postgraduate qualifications in veterinary and animal sciences. The veterinary colleges produce more than 2500 veterinary graduates per annum. All veterinary colleges have implemented minimum standard of veterinary education regulation 1993 of Veterinary Council Act, 1984.
Considering the increase in importance of veterinary profession in the country, Veterinary Council Act, 1984 was enacted by Parliament. The registration at the Veterinary Council became a legal mandate for a veterinary graduate to practice veterinary medicine. For registration with the Council, a person should possess a recognized veterinary qualification.
As per minimum standard of veterinary education, there are 17 teaching departments in addition to a teaching veterinary hospital complex in every veterinary college. The minimum admission in-take capacity as prescribed by Veterinary Council of India in a veterinary college is 60 per annum. The students admitted to BVSc and AH. Degree programmes have to undergo nine semesters of course work followed by 6 months compulsory internship programme.
Besides prescribing minimum standard of education in veterinary colleges, Veterinary Council of India, a statutory body of Govt., of India, i.e. India Veterinary Council Act, 1984 (52 of 1984) regulates veterinary practice. Veterinary student receives a well-rounded basic education. Veterinarians acquire a broad understanding of how a living organism works and impart their skills in many areas.
Career Opportunities for Veterinary Graduates:
There are many avenues open to a graduate veterinarian and some of the important organizations/establishments/agencies engaging veterinary graduates are given below:
1. Animal Husbandry Departments of State Governments:
Various state governments recruit the veterinary graduates to the post of veterinary officers/veterinary surgeons. These recruitments are made through the respective State Public Service Commissions and the basic qualification required for the posts is graduate degree in veterinary sciences. The veterinarians in the state departments may have to look after animal health cover, animal reproduction, veterinary and animal husbandry extension, meat inspection and cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig and poultry production, breeding farms, etc.
Some the veterinary graduates are engaged in the disease diagnostic laboratories of the state Government, while a few are recruited in the biological production units. The various developmental programmes of government agencies are also taken care of by these veterinary officers.
2. Pradeshik Co-Operative Dairy Federation (PCDF):
PCDFs work through co-operative societies and are involved in production/procurement of milk and milk products and the upliftment of dairy animals. It provides animal’s health care, veterinary extension and animal reproduction facilities to the livestock farmers. It employs a large number of veterinary graduates. The job is quite challenging and entails hard work.
The establishment of one’s own veterinary clinic is the best bet for an aspiring, forward looking, and competent, confident and hard-working young veterinarian. He is his own master in this venture. The private clinics have been established in large numbers in metropolitan cities and towns.
In cities, veterinarians are confined to small animal practice but in towns, they are engaged in mixed practice. The canine breeding is also practised by some of these practitioners, which is quite rewarding since there is great demand of pedigreed pups in the society.
4. Pharmaceutical Companies:
A large number of Indian and multinational pharmaceutical companies have entered into the production of veterinary drugs and pharmaceuticals. They employ veterinary graduates for production, quality control and marketing of drugs and vaccine. The job is quite challenging, demanding and involves professionalism.
5. Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC):
RVC of the Indian Army offers a very rewarding career to an aspiring and dedicated veterinary graduate who is interested in a disciplined and active life. Veterinary graduates are selected in short service commissions or for permanent commission and recruitment is done through Services Selection Board. The job requires breeding, feeding, management, disease control and treatment of animals maintained by army, managing breeding centres, remount depots, slaughter houses and military dairy farms, etc.
6. Paramilitary Forces:
A limited number of veterinary graduates are recruited by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Boarder Security Force (BSF) and other paramilitary forces to manage dog and equine breeding centres and provide animal health cover and surveillance.
7. Bank and Insurance Companies:
Most of the nationalized banks and insurance companies also recruit limited number of veterinary graduates to supervise and monitor sanctioning/awarding of funds for the purchase of milch animals under various loan schemes, preparation and screening of various project proposals, etc. The veterinarians engaged in these organizations do not get opportunity of rendering professional services in the area of treatment and control of diseases in animals.
8. Private Poultry Production and Dairy Farms:
Many prestigious private poultry and dairy farms and private hatcheries also offer lucrative jobs to veterinary graduates having adequate experience in that area. The job requires -a high degree of professional efficiency and devotion to duty.
9. Stud Farms/Race Course:
The stud farms also recruit veterinarians to look after the breeding, feeding and management of equines. The job is quite challenging so are the emoluments, the veterinarians having interest and aptitude for equines are engaged by different race courses in metropolitan cities as consultant and for treatment of animals.
10. Diagnostic Laboratories:
Some of the reputed organizations particularly the hatcheries and poultry farm owners have established the disease investigation facilities with an aim to provide the quick diagnostic facilities. Such laboratories also recruit veterinarians to undertake disease diagnostic work.
11. Zoo and National Parks:
Though the zoo and national parks get veterinary assistance through respective animal husbandry departments, but some of them recruit their own veterinary officers to provide health cover to their animals. The job is quite challenging and rewarding.
12. Slaughter Houses:
Some slaughter houses particularly those located in big cities and managed by municipal corporations as well as large slaughter houses in private sector also recruit veterinary graduates to look after the slaughtering, their management and for meat inspection work. They also help in preparation/utilization of slaughter house byproducts.
13. Teaching and Research Organizations:
The veterinary graduates who have acquired higher qualifications, viz. MVSc, PhD, etc. are engaged by various academic and research institutes of different state universities/colleges, UPSC, ICAR, etc. They undertake teaching, research and extension work.
14. Research and Development Wings:
Most of the pharmaceutical and other organizations have research and development wings for carrying out trials or developing protocols for clinical trials. They also recruit few veterinary graduates. However, they prefer the Masters/PhD degree holders in their respective specialization to undertake challenging task.
Thus broadly career opportunities for veterinarians can be grouped as per employment agencies, viz.:
a. State government,
b. Centralized sectors,
c. Local bodies/municipalities/panchayats,
d. Private sector and
e. Self-employment in private practice.
a. State Government:
i. Veterinary hospitals/primary veterinary centres.
ii. Organized state farms for managing livestock forms.
iii. Semen banks/sperm stations, where proven bulls are kept.
iv. Poultry farms for managing egg farms, hatcheries, and chick rearing units.
v. Meat/milk processing plants for supervising of hygienic production of meat, collection and distribution of milk.
vi. Polyclinics-where specialized service like surgery, special diagnostics and treatment, etc. are given.
vii. Disease investigation centres—survey disease profile and investigation work.
viii. Biological products or vaccine institutions prepare quality control and distribute vaccines, biological.
ix. Disease eradication schemes/check-posts/vaccination camps.
x. Public health labs—investigation of disease transmissible from animals to man and vice versa.
b. Centralized Sectors:
i. Army (Remount veterinary corps)—to train and look after horses, dogs, camel, etc. in the forces.
ii. BSF/police—to look after horses, dogs, camels, etc., in the forces.
iii. ICAR—co-ordination and funding of animal based research programmes.
iv. Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture—for administrative management and co-ordination of veterinary service.
v. Quarantine units—these are international check posts preventing entry of exotic diseases like mad cow disease or fowl influenza, etc.
vi. Central farms—same as state farms and sperm stations.
vii. Academic/research/extension wing of veterinary colleges in state agricultural universities, state veterinary universities, or universities having veterinary faculty.
viii. Para-veterinary staff training schools.
ix. Experimental and germ-free animal facilities attached to veterinary and medical institutions, drug research institutions.
x. Experimental animal unit, (animal model preparation for experimentation, etc.)
xi. Clinical, diagnostic and investigation centres attached to veterinary colleges and research institutes.
c. Local Bodies/Municipalities/Panchayats:
i. Slaughter houses/cattle farms/public health laboratories.
ii. Zoo and wildlife centres.
iii. Animal resource development under Panchayati Raj.
d. Private Sector:
ii. Commercial dairy and poultry farms; breeding farms, hatchery, etc.
iii. Race club, stud farms.
iv. Veterinary instruments/equipment industry.
v. Biological products and vaccine product plants.
vi. Insurance companies, banks, corporate bodies, e.g. National Dairy Development Board, Milk Board, Milk Unions, etc.
vii. Feed processing industry.
e. Private Practice:
ii. Practising veterinarian for small and large animal; zoo animals.
iii. Entrepreneur in livestock farms, poultry farms, etc.
iv. Diagnostic laboratories (pathology, biochemistry, microbiology).
v. X-rays, ultrasound facility.
Thus, the graduate veterinarians have a bright future. They have multiple job opportunities. They should not look only for the government job as there is vast scope and ample opportunities in other organizations too. The veterinary curriculum in veterinary institutions has been so structured that can shoulder the responsibility with great competence and ability.