A study was conducted to ascertain the role of livestock in ensuring income equity among the rural farmers of Tamil Nadu using randomly selected 540 sample households from six poverty prone districts of Tamil Nadu. The study period was August 2013 to October 2014. The sample respondents were post-stratified based on the occupation as crop cultivators, livestock farmers, fishermen, agricultural labourers and non-farm workers, etc. The measures of income inequality viz., Gini coefficient (Gi), Theils L index and Theils T index were calculated and Lorenz curve was plotted to ascertain the income equity among different rural occupations. The income distribution curve of non-farm occupation was at more distance from line of equality indicating higher inequality (Gini co-efficient of 0.4216), followed by crop cultivators and fishing. The inequality was found to be less among livestock farmers (Gini co-efficient of 0.2350), as the livestock are giving stable and year-round income. Among different species of livestock, cattle had lowest income inequality (Gini co-efficient of 0.1868), followed by buffalo, goat and sheep. As the livestock component ensures income-equity, they might be encouraged and incorporated in poverty alleviation programmes. Among livestock based occupations, cattle and buffalo farming should be encouraged as the results indicated that these species enures income equity.
Key words: Income Inequality, Equity, Livestock, Gini Co-efficient, Theil Index, Lorenz Curve