The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up of a national cow commission for “conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny”, a government press release said. The Centre said the setting up of a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will increase growth in the livestock sector, and this will benefit women, small and marginal farmers.

The commission will collaborate with other government institutions working on research in fields such as breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure and biogas, the press release said. The commission will be tasked with providing a framework for cow conservation and development programmes.

“There are 19 crore cows in the country, and around 10 crore bulls,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “This is a major resource for the country. Hence we have made this commission.”

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had first announced such a commission in his Budget speech in Parliament on February 1.

National Institutes of Food Technology bill

The Cabinet also approved the introduction of National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019. The bill proposes that the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management, Haryana, and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu will be provided the status of institutes of national importance.

Such status would permit the institutions to achieve functional autonomy to design and develop courses and undertake research activities, the press release said. “The institutes will implement the reservation policy of the government and also undertake special outreach services for the benefit of concerned stakeholders,” the Centre said. “It would enable the institutes to provide world class teaching and research experience by adopting innovative practices.”