NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) last-ditch effort to save the National Institute of Animal Welfare (NIAW), envisaged as a premier institution in South Asia in 1999, by outsourcing its management, is still on shaky ground.
The move was initiated by the ministry a few months ago. Since then, several meetings in this regard have been held.
Besides, many universities and training institutions from across the country have approached them but a final call on the matter is yet to be taken.
“It is not privatisation, but outsourcing to an agency which can run it properly. We have realised that it is not possible for the ministry to run an institution so it is better to give it to an agency that has expertise in it,” said a ministry official.
It is not the first time that such a proposal has been made as the ministry had tried to do the same in 2012, but had abandoned the process when it failed to find suitable takers.
At the time, four agencies, including Noida-based Amity Institute of Training and Development had submitted applications but the MoEF did not take the issue to its logical conclusion. In 1999, the lawmakers had envisaged a plan to develop NIAW as a premier institution for imparting animal welfare training.
But the MoEF move tells the sorry state of affairs the institute finds itself in even several years after its inception. NIAW, at present, imparts training to zookeepers, officials of state Animal Welfare Boards and others. It runs weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or half year courses in animal welfare.
But the MoEF wants to expand the ambit and is of the view that it can’t do that by itself.
According to the ministry, it wants to transfer the management and operation of training courses of the NIAW to organisations such as reputed universities or educational institutions, including veterinary colleges and a professional organisation, to award the degree or diploma courses.
An advertisement was issued in January inviting interested parties and since then several government-run universities and private educational institutions have evinced interest. But nothing seems to have been finalised as yet.
NIAW has been conceptualised as an apex body in the field of animal welfare and its broad mandate covers the need to improve animal welfare through research, education and public outreach. Its objective is to create enabling environment for fulfillment of the statutory requirements as laid down in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and imparting training and education on diversified subjects in Animal Welfare, including animal management, behaviour and ethics.