Maharashtra Cabinet clears proposal to set up cow service commission
It is the third state after Haryana and Goa to set up such a panel.
The Maharashtra Cabinet has cleared a proposal to set up a cow service commission in order to strictly implement the 2015 law to ban beef as well as take measures to improve the condition of the cattle, reported PTI on Monday.
The Cabinet took the decision on Friday, approving funds of Rs 10 crore for setting up the commission. A draft Bill is likely to be placed before the state Assembly this week.
An official from the animal husbandry department told PTI that the Maharashtra Gau Seva Aayog (Maharashtra Commission for Cow Service) will supervise the rearing of livestock and assess which of them are unproductive and unfit for milking, breeding and carrying out agricultural work.
The commission will also coordinate with various government agencies to stop non-productive cattle from being sent to slaughterhouses, reported the Hindustan Times. Cattle slaughter is illegal under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Animal Act, 1995.
The 24-member commission will monitor all the cowsheds formed to shelter stray and unproductive cattle and can provide financial assistance to these establishments if needed, an official told the Hindustan Times.
Another official told the newspaper that the commission will comprise 14 senior officers from various government departments including commissioners from animal husbandry, agriculture and dairy development departments, the deputy inspector general of police and nine nominated members. Those nominated would either belong to cow protection groups or non-governmental organisations that run cowsheds.
“The commission has further been mandated to take up the cultivation of improved breeds of cattle with the help of gaushalas, start research schemes to increase local varieties, take up schemes for generating biogas and power from cow dung and their urine and coordinating with universities and other research institutes that are working in the field of cattle and cattle development among others,” the official added.
The Maharashtra government estimates that cow population will increase due to the beef ban in the state, according to the officials.
Maharashtra will be the third state after Haryana and Goa to set up such commissions. The Devendra Fadnavis-led government had proposed the commission in 2018 but it could not be set up after the finance department raised objections.
The Maharashtra unit of the Congress has objected to the move, saying that the state should bring a scheme like the Chhattisgarh government to solve the problem of unproductive cattle.
“The farmers have stopped abandoning their non-productive cattle after the Chhattisgarh government started buying cow dung and urine directly from them,” state Congress chief Nana Patole told the Hindustan Times. “The scheme also provides direct benefit to the farmers instead of a group of people that are going to be benefited in the name of cow protection organisations or cowshed.”