The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday presented a Rs 4.79-lakh crore budget for the 2019-20 financial year, of which more than Rs 447 crore has been allocated for the welfare of cows.
The budget, presented by state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal, allocated Rs 247.60 crore for the maintenance and construction of cow shelters in rural areas and Rs 200 crore for urban animal shelters under the Kanha Gaushala and Besahara Pashu Ashram scheme.
UP Budget 2019: Rs 247.60 crore has been allocated for the maintenance of cow -shelters in rural areas and Rs 200 crore allocated for 'Kanha Gaushala and Besahara Pashu Ashram' in urban areas pic.twitter.com/3eC22lnmAP
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) February 7, 2019
"The Akhilesh Yadav government, which has questioned this government's efforts to build cow shelters, had, in the 2016-17 budget, allotted just Rs 5 crore for the maintenance of cow shelters," Agarwal said, before announcing that in addition to the Rs 447 crore, duty amounting to Rs 165 crore, collected from the sale of alcohol in the state, will also go into maintaining cow shelters.
This is the third budget presented by the Yogi Adityanath government and is 12 percent higher than the previous year's budget of Rs 4.28 lakh crore.
Cow welfare has been on the forefront of the BJP's government's concerns in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier in 2019, the state government had decided to introduce an additional levy of 0.5 percent as cow welfare cess on eight profit-making public sector infrastructure companies to fund the construction and maintenance of cow shelters.
Since the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017, the state has seen a 69 percent rise in cases of cow-related violence. The state has emerged as a hub for cow-related lynchings and hate violence. As many as 21 cow-related attacks took place in the state in 2018, with four ending in deaths.
Among those who died were 45-year-old Qasim Qureshi at Hapur in western Uttar Pradesh, 20-year-old Shahrukh Khan in Bareilly in northern Uttar Pradesh; and police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a bystander in Bulandshahr. The Bulandshahr case garnered nationwide attention, ending in FIRs against leaders of the right-wing Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Two days after the Bulandshahr violence, Adityanath had ordered strict action against cow slaughter, unlawful trade in cattle and illegal slaughterhouses.
The Adityanath cabinet's budgetary allocation for cows comes a day after the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a proposal seeking the establishment of a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog to conserve, protect and develop India's cattle population. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, who presented the interim Budget on 1 February, made the proposal. It will result in increased growth of the livestock sector, which is more inclusive as well as beneficial to women and small and marginal farmers, read an official press note.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2019 14:36:05 IST