With cow politics slowing taking centre stage ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led Central government has added another initiative for the sacred animal's protection in its kitty.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal seeking the establishment of a 'Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog' for cow protection and effective implementation of welfare schemes related to the bovine. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal made the proposal while presenting the Interim Budget on 1 February.
What is a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog?
In 2014, just over a month after coming to power, the Narendra Modi government launched the 'Rashtriya Gokul Mission'. The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is an addition to this mission, which aims to conserve indigenous breeds of cows.
The Aayog will aim to conserve, protect and develop cows and their progeny and include the development and conservation of native breeds.
While proposing the initiative, Goyal said during his Budget speech, "The directive principle of the Constitution, which called for the protection of cows, the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is going to make sure it is followed and has money alloted for it."
He proposed to have the commission set up with an initial capital of Rs 500 crore.
The commission aims to scale up genetic improvement in "cow resources" to enhance their production. With the focus on effective implementation of the laws and welfare schemes meant for cows, the commission will work on collaborating with veterinarians, animal sciences or agriculture universities, departments or organisations of the Central and state governments engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing cows and production of organic manure and biogas.
Why is the commission being set up?
In India, the issue of stray cattle is not just limited to Uttar Pradesh. Due to laws preventing the sale of cows for slaughter, farmers often abandon the animals when they are of no economic use.
With an eye on increasing the "productivity "of cows, the Centre aims to do away with this issue. If one asks how, it is the focus on the conservation of indigenous breeds that will help enhance their productivity. As The Hindu Businessline noted, native breeds have resilient characteristics, and their milk is rich in fat and SNF (solids not fat) content. They are also known to be able to withstand the effects of climate change.
Another target of the government is the livestock sector. Setting up the commission is expected to increase growth of the sector, which the government believes will benefit women and marginal farmers involved in the field.
The commission will also provide policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country.
Although cow has been at the core of the BJP's agenda, the Aayog has been labelled under the animal husbandry department. This is being seen as a move by the Modi government to make cow protection an issue of national importance ahead of the general elections.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2019 15:05:02 IST