India makes buying a used cow easier than buying a used car

Aadhaar-adjacent app will put beasts' full history in farmers' hands

India has launched a new app to help farmers access information about livestock and expects it will cut the cost of cattle and make farms more efficient.

The app, called e-Gopala, will enable farmers on the ground to register and access information about their livestock using ID-tags linked to the Pashu Aadhaar database established last year.

The database, which takes after a similar system made to track Indian citizens, provides each animal with an ear tag containing a 12-digit identification number. The number is linked to data about the animal's precise species, breed, pedigree, plus all information related to calving, milk production, and vaccinations.

Such databases are fairly common across the world to help farmers manage and trade their livestock. India has the world's largest livestock population and is the biggest producer of milk, but because it lacked such a system the sector's productivity has been severely hampered.

In a speech announcing the new app, prime minister Narendra Modi said that info accessible with the app will help farmers choose better quality livestock and avoid having to deal with middlemen.

India does not have the best record when it comes to security of such large databases. In 2017, the Aadhaar system used for citizens leaked a whopping 135m records, which included not only photos of citizens' faces, fingerprints, and irises, but also details of their bank accounts. Perhaps the cows will fare better. ®

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