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1. Context

We believe that pastoralism as a practice involves the seasonally mobile management of domesticated animal herds on extensive grazing, with at least 50% of household revenues accruing from such animal husbandry.

By this definition, pastoralism does not include intensively managed livestock (such as stall-fed dairies) or immobile households that manage a few animals that might be grazed on village commons, generating a small fraction of household revenues from their livestock.

There are between 10 and 20 million pastoralists in the country, spread principally across the Himalayas, Western India (Rajasthan and Gujarat) and the Deccan Plateau. These communities herd the bulk of India’s 75 million sheep, perhaps half of its 135 million goats, its entire camel population and some part of its 190 million cattle. Indian pastoralists have bred large numbers of indigenous breeds, including all indigenous cattle found in dairies. Thus, at both a micro and a macro level, pastoralist contribution to food security in this country is significant.