The study has assessed the constraints perceived by field veterinarian in delivery of animal healthcare services, both curative and preventive in Haryana and Punjab state by selecting 60 Veterinary Officers from 6 districts, 10 VOs from each district of the state. The study has revealed that the policy of delivery of subsidized animal healthcare services (AHS) does not seem to be serving its real purpose as most of the farmers in the study area have been observed to avail the services of private practitioners. The analysis of attributes associated with various AHS providers has revealed that ‘farmer prefer natural service over AI’ is the major constraining factor in the uptake of AHS. Lack of participation of VOs in various policy making and planning process, insufficient budget allocation for programme execution, arbitrary target fixation for Al (Artificial Insemination) by the department, inadequate subordinate staff in the government veterinary hospital, lack of awards and rewards were reported as most important constraints in delivering of animal health services in Haryana and Punjab states.
The livestock plays an important role in livelihood security. It provides supplementary income to millions of rural households, who are landless agricultural labourers or marginal or small farmers. The distribution of livestock among rural household is far more equitable than landholding. The growing population, increase in income and urbanization are driving forces which leads to changes in consumption patterns in favour of livestock-based food products. The constant increase in demand for livestock-based food products not only contributes to nutritional security, but also provides income growth opportunities to rural poor and hence, helps in poverty alleviation. In India, poor animal’s health is the major constraint, remains one of the main factors limiting livestock development. In India animal healthcare services (AHS) and disease control have been still in the purview of public sector. The delivery of these services by public sector is justified by assuming that livestock are most important for resource-poor rural households who have limited resources and unable to pay for animal healthcare services. However, in present scenario, the policy of delivery of subsidized animal healthcare services has come under increasing pressure for not performing satisfactorily. There are several diseases affecting production of livestocks, human health, trade of livestock and animal products. Improved quality and quantity of livestock and its products is necessary in order to compete in the international market, which intern needs disease free animal health status. In recent times, the incidence of brucellosis, tuberculosis, rabies, plague, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, glanders, corona, influenza, Nipah and Hendra viral diseases in livestock have increased and gained zoonotic significance (Chakraborty et al., 2000). Among all, brucellosis is a second most important zoonotic disease of the world after rabies (FAO, 2006) and economic losses due to brucellosis remain significant. Hence, an effort had been made to collect the constraints faced by the field veterinarians in delivering of animal health services in Haryana and Punjab states.
Materials and Methods
The ex-post facto research design was employed for the present study. Total of 6 districts were selected from Haryana and Punjab states for the present study. From each state 3 district was selected purposively as study area since these districts has immense potential to develop the animal husbandry sector and had highest cattle population. Ten VOs were selected in equal proportion from each district, thus 60 VOs were selected. Data collection was done through personal interview method with the help of well-structured interview schedule. The collected data were analysed by using RBQ Method and ranking was done on the basis of RBQ values. Constraints perceived by veterinary officers while delivering animal health services were consisted of six dimensions viz., social, communicational, managerial, technical, infrastructural and psychological constraints.
Results and Discussion
The results revealed (Table 1) that out of the total four constraints, veterinary officer reported major constraints in delivering effective animal health services is farmer’s prefer natural service over artificial insemination (AI) had highest RBQ value 86.18. In spite, heavy investment by both central and state government on artificial insemination (AI) still farmers preferred natural service over AI. Further, non-separation of contagious animals by farmers was considered as second most serious social constraints with RBQ value of 68.95. Farmer’s belief on village quack and hesitate to contact with VOs was considered as third most serious constraints with RBQ value 55.84 and pregnancy diagnosis is generally considered against the social norms by farmers was the fourth most serious constraints reported by VOs with RBQ value 47.33. Since the diseases are to be prevented and causes are to be eliminated at the source itself, the importance of separation of contagious animals needs no explanation. The fact that many farmers rear animals with limited space and no interest has been given to such type of healthy measurement made the situation worst reported many a times. Therefore, respondents’ strong expression in this regard were quite logical. Ignorance of such type of health management practices by farmers made the crunch situation for veterinarians. In an analogous study Saharia (1990) also reported that misguidance by quacks as the major constraint perceived by VSs of Assam.
Table 1: Ranking pattern of social constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Social Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Farmers belief on village quacks and hesitate to contact with VOs||55.84||III|
|2||Non-separation of contagious animals by farmers||68.95||II|
|3||Farmers prefer natural service over AI||86.18||I|
|4||Pregnancy diagnosis is generally considered against the social norms by farmers||47.33||IV|
The study revealed (Table 2) that lack of participation of VOs in various policies making and planning process had highest RBQ value 96.88. VOs perceived; field problems get low priority in discussion with the higher authorities (RBQ value=87.44) as second major constraints. Most of the time higher authorities did not realize the importance of issues faced by the field level functionaries in their respective field of operation and show little or no interest to the problems faced by VOs while performing their duties. Timely communication is not available from department (RBQ=80.28) was the third major constraints perceived by VOs. Poor Research-Extension linkage in the department was perceived as fourth major constraints by VOs with RBQ value 77.66. Lack of feedback on the performance of VOs (RBQ=58.46) was the fifth major constraints perceived by VOs. Feedback from higher authorities is the cheapest and most powerful management tool to increase the job satisfaction, job performance and inculcate motivation among the workforces of an organization. To increase the involvement of workforces within the job and organization, feedback must be implemented which was lacking in the department curriculum. Similar constraint was also reported by Venkatsubramaniam and Ramchand (1992), Ratnayake (2012), Goyal et al. (2014) and Patel et al. (2016).
Table 2: Ranking pattern of communicational constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Communicational Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Poor Research-Extension linkage in the department||77.66||IV|
|2||Field problems gets low priority in discussion with the higher authorities||87.44||II|
|3||Lack of feedback on the performance of VOs||58.46||V|
|4||Timely communication is not available from department||80.28||III|
|5||Lack of participation of VOs in various policy making and planning process||96.88||I|
Study revealed (Table 3) that majority of the VOs found that insufficient budget allocation for programme execution (RBQ=88.77) as the most significant constraint pertaining to the managerial aspect. Budget plays an inevitable role in controlling operations efficiently and effectively. Insufficient budget not only made hindrance in the execution of the programme but also in its outcome, which ultimately affect the performance of VOs. Second major constraints as perceived by VOs were excessive paper work and record-keeping with RBQ value 78.66. VOs reported that there is too much paper work and record-keeping, which utilizes substantial amount of time and distracts them from their technical work. Lack of monitoring and evaluation (RBQ=73.44) was the third major constraints perceived by VOs. Remote and larger area for coverage was considered as fourth most serious constraints with RBQ value of 68.22. Further, lack of proper guidance in crisis situation by the higher authorities (RBQ=57.28), political involvement is more (RBQ=53.28), ideas, suggestions are not valued (RBQ=47.52), and inadequate coordination among VOs (RBQ=42.66) were the other constraints perceived by veterinary officers in delivering the effective animal health services. The results are in accordance with the study of Punjabi et al. (2005), Goyal et al. (2014) and Patel et al. (2016).
Table 3: Ranking pattern of managerial constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Managerial Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Excessive paper work and record-keeping||78.66||II|
|2||Remote and larger area for coverage||68.22||IV|
|3||Insufficient budget allocation for programme execution||88.77||I|
|4||Lack of monitoring and evaluation||73.44||III|
|5||Lack of proper guidance in crisis situation by the higher authorities||57.28||V|
|6||Ideas, suggestions are not valued||47.52||VII|
|7||Inadequate coordination among VOs||42.66||VIII|
|8||Political involvement is more||53.38||VI|
The results revealed (Table 4) that arbitrary target fixation for artificial insemination (AI) was the most serious constraint as perceived by VOs with RBQ value 82.33. The administration’s approach for effective service delivery is through provision of targets. However, targets are not the best way to ensure effectiveness of service and employees. Target setting not only causes unnecessary pressure on the VOs but also produces undesirable and unintended outcomes. Delayed reporting of heat by the farmers secured second most serious technical constraints as perceived by VOs with RBQ value 78.68. The success of AI is depends on a great extent on the proper time of insemination. Lack of in-service training and refresher courses was considered as the third most serious constraints as perceived by VOs with RBQ value 76.24. Supply of defective equipment in GVH & GVD accorded fourth most serious constraints as perceived by VOs with RBQ value 72.44. Lack of state of art laboratory facilities at district level was considered as fifth most serious constraints with RBQ value 67.48. Furthers, outbreak of different contagious diseases arises at the same time (RBQ=52.44), lack of referral laboratory (RBQ=52.12), lack of coordination with ICAR/ SVUs/ SAUs (RBQ=42.91), state focus on treatment aspect rather than on prevention and control measures (RBQ=38.17) and non-availability of high quality semen supply (36.04) were other constraints perceived by veterinary officers in delivering the effective animal health services. The findings of the study are in accordance with the study of Kumar and Kaur (2015) who reported that lack of opportunities for updating knowledge was the major constraints (51.60%) among SMSs of Krishi Vigyan Kendra. Similar constraint stated by Saharia (1990), Venkatsubramaniam and Ramchand (1992), Rajput and Tripathi (2010), Ratnayake (2012) and Goyal et al. (2014).
Table 4: Ranking pattern of technical constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Technical Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Arbitrary target fixation for Al by the department||82.33||I|
|2||Delayed reporting of heat by the farmers||78.68||II|
|3||Lack of in-service training and refresher courses||76.24||III|
|4||Supply of defective equipment in GVH & GVD||72.44||IV|
|5||Outbreak of different contagious diseases arises at the same time||52.44||VI|
|6||Non availability of high-quality semen supply||36.04||X|
|7||Lack of state of art laboratory facilities at district level||67.48||V|
|8||Lack of referral laboratory||52.12||VII|
|9||Lack of coordination with ICAR/ SVUs/ SAUs||42.91||VIII|
|10||State focus on treatment aspect rather than on prevention and control measures||38.17||IX|
The results revealed (Table 5) that VOs of the study area perceived inadequate subordinate staff in the government veterinary hospital as the most serious constraints with RBQ value 62.77. It had become a matter of serious concern for the department and alarm the higher authorities to take necessary steps by recruiting para-veterinary staff so that, efficient livestock services could become accessible to the poor livestock farmers. Whereas, Ill-equipped government veterinary hospital was considered as second most serious constraints with RBQ value 61.22. Most of the animal health centres were in dilapidated conditions with improper electricity provision. In addition they were also lacking in the basic equipment’s and simple diagnostic kits. Lack of official transport facilities to for VOs for their field visit was accorded as third most serious constraints as perceived by VOs with RBQ value 56.85. Further, frequent transfer of Veterinary Officers from their working place (RBQ=53.66), improper storage facilities for vaccines (RBQ=46.48) and inadequate facilities of PPE for veterinary service at farmers door (RBQ=39.40) were other constraints perceived by veterinary officers in delivering the effective animal health services in the study area. Similar findings were reported by Punjabi et al. (2005), Ravikumar et al. (2005), Nagananda (2005), Biradar (2009), Rajput and Tripathi (2010) and Ratnayake (2012).
Table 5: Ranking pattern of infrastructural constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Infrastructural Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Lack of official transport facilities to for VOs for their field visit||56.85||III|
|2||Inadequate subordinate staff in the government veterinary hospital||62.77||I|
|3||Ill -equipped government veterinary hospital||61.22||II|
|4||Improper storage facilities for vaccines||46.48||V|
|5||Inadequate facilities of PPE for veterinary service at farmers door||39.4||VI|
|6||Frequent transfer of Veterinary Officers from their working place||53.66||IV|
The findings revealed that (Table 6) lack of awards and rewards emerged as most serious constraints with RBQ value 64.66. Every employee expects that his/her work should be recognized in one way or another. Poor accessibility to professional development was considered as second most serious constraints with RBQ value 62.33. The professional development opportunities are highly neglected in animal husbandry department as perceived by respondents. The third among the psychological constraints which had RBQ value 58.22 was fewer avenues for promotions. It was also inferred that with a brighter promotional opportunities VOs could improve his/her status both in organization and society. Moreover, the poor promotional opportunities in the animal husbandry department made the VOs to rate this particular constraint as an important psychological constraint. Further, lack of good rapport with farmers (RBQ=44.23) and lack of motivation for veterinary officers (RBQ=42.39) were the other constraints as perceived by VOs in delivery of animals’ health services. Similar findings were reported by Punjabi et al. (2005), Sandika et al. (2007) and Ratnayake et al. (2015).
Table 6: Ranking pattern of psychological constraints as perceived by veterinary officers (n=60)
|S. No.||Psychological Constraints||RBQ Values||Ranks|
|1||Lack of awards and rewards||64.66||I|
|2||Poor accessibility to professional development||62.33||II|
|3||Less avenue for promotions||58.22||III|
|4||Lack of motivation for veterinary officers||42.39||V|
|5||Lack of good rapport with farmers||44.23||IV|
It could be concluded from the study that major constraints faced by the field veterinarian while performing their roles and responsibilities needs to be eliminated and utmost care should be taken by the animal’s husbandry department or higher authorities or policy makers to ensure that such problems do not arise. Immediate action should be taken to help the field veterinarian to overcome the exiting constraints while delivering animal health services in their respective area.