Aadhaar for cattle: Centre proposes unique identification number for cows, project to cost Rs 148 crore

The Centre has approached the Supreme Court on Monday to provide unique identification numbers similar to Aadhaar for cows in the country, says media reports. The move is part of the central government's plans of tagging and tracking cattle to ensure they get vaccines on time, which can improve their breeding and milk production, and double the industry's income by 2022.

 Aadhaar for cattle: Centre proposes unique identification number for cows, project to cost Rs 148 crore

Representational image. Reuters

The Central government has also recommended special care for cattle beyond the age of milking, ANI tweeted.

According to The Times of India, the centre also brought up the issue of cow protection and cattle smuggling across the India-Bangladesh border.

A report in The Economic Times in January said that nearly one lakh technicians are fanning out across the country since 1 January, and will affix a tag containing a 12-digit unique identification number inside the ear of every single cow and buffalo in the country — all 88 million of them.

The ambitious project will be concluded by the end of this year and comes at a cost of Rs 148 crore.

These "animal Aadhaar cards" will contain the breed and age of the cattle, as well as information about the owner, location and also details about its vaccination. This move comes about a year after Jharkhand embarked upon a similar mission, to trace and tag the 42 lakh cattle it had.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Jharkhand animal husbandry officials were asked to undergo the exercise to monitor and check the illegal trade of cattle.

The committee, set up in pursuance of the court order, has recommended having tamper-proof identification of cattle by using polyurethane tags and a state-level data base may be uploaded at a website which may be linked with a national online database. The recommendations were placed before a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud which listed the PIL filed by Akhil Bharat Krishi Gosewa Sangh for Tuesday for passing directions by considering these recommendations.

The issue before the apex court also included concern over smuggling of cattle to Nepal for being sacrificed at the Gadhimai festival, held once in five years, and a petition relating to it filed before the festival in 2014. The instant petition concerning trafficking of cattle to Bangladesh was filed by Akhil Bharat Krishi Gosewa Sangh. A similar plea was filed by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, seeking directions to the Centre and states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, which share the border with Nepal.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Centre, informed the court that the government has considered recommendations of the committee and the court may now pass directions based on them to states as the issue fell in the state list of the Constitution. The panel, in its recommendations, said, "The committee
recommends that Chief Secretary of respective states to regularly monitor the performance of various departments of the state governments, including RTO, state police and animal husbandry department and ensure prevention of cattle smuggling /illegal transportation of cattle by way of periodic reports.

Image used for representative purpose only. Reuters

The move aims to check cattle smuggling across borders. Reuters

"At the central level, monitoring could be done by Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)/Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF)."

"Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, has devised a method of tamper-proof identification of cattle using polyurethane tags with a unique identification number sequence. This may be made mandatory for all cows and their progeny throughout India for all cattle that is owned. Already mass tagging of cattle for insurance purpose is being done by livestock development boards and animals husbandry department of state governments," it suggested.

It said the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act read with Export-Import Policy (Exim policy) of India mandates that cattle can only be exported from the country with a valid licence from the regional licensing authority. "In order to check the smuggling of livestock across India's borders, there may be strict enforcement of the EXIM policy by the relevant customs authorities, transport department, police and border guarding forces as per the law," it recommended.

The panel said even where animals are travelling with a licence across the border, care may be taken to check the manner in which they are being transported to prevent cruelty to them. It advocated seeking of cooperation from public to give information on the movement of animals for the purpose of smuggling through helpline numbers of BSF and state police.

Regarding compliance of the July last year's order of Himachal Pradesh banning cow slaughter in the country and imposing prohibitions on import and export of cow and sale of beef, the report said that an effective curb on illegal interstate transportation of cattle was "difficult" because of the varied legal provisions from state to state. "The compliance of the order would entail making a uniform act for cow preservation and protection in India. This will certainly help in reducing grey areas and ensuring implementation to a better extent," it said.

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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2017 20:06:32 IST