In the face of severe drought in the past 140 years, the Tamil Nadu government scheme for free distribution of milch cows and goats to the poorest of the poor in the villages has received a huge set back. According to governmenr reports, the scheme will be resumed after the situation stabilises. Animal husbandry minister P Balakrishnan said that once the state starts receiving adequate rainfall and animal farmers have a means to save their animals, the scheme will be back on track. Incidentally, the scheme was temporarily stopped with effect from December 2016. 

The scheme was introduced in 2011-2012, which has benefitted landless farmers, especially women. The state government, it is said, has distributed 2.8 million goats and sheep until 2015-2016, as per the animal husbandry ministry. In a 2016 order, as per a Livemint report, 4.4 million kids were obtained from these goats and sheeps. Speaking to the media, P.R. Pandian, coordinator of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Associations said, "The Tamil Nadu government is hesitant to furnish the actual impact of the drought and the condition of the farmers in the Supreme Court. But while making announcements like these, they try to justify the move in the name of drought."

For instance, CM of Tamil Nadu E Palaniswami said in a filing to the Supreme Court that no farmer had committed suicide during the drought situation. This, however, has other meanings for Pandian who believes that the government is was pursuing anti-farmer policies. The farmer protest in New Delhi, however, had brewed up a storm across India where they had demanded a complete loan waiver, demanding a Rs 40,000 crore drought relief package. They had also demanded the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre.

The government, last year, had said that 400,000 goats/sheep would be distributed to 100,000 families headed by women who belonged to the poorest of poor category during 2016-2017. For the implementation of the scheme, milch cows were obtained from other states while goats and sheeps were obtained locally since they are more prone to diseases while travelling long distance. However, their numbers have gone down drastically due to the drought situation in the state. One such farmer is reported to have said, "As there was no proper fodder to feed, I was not able to take care of my cow and it died two months ago, due to some health issue."