The Madhya Pradesh government will form a “gau Cabinet” for the protection and welfare of cows in the state, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced on Twitter on Wednesday. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader did not provide any details about the exact duties of the panel.
Various government departments, including animal husbandry, farmers and rural development, will be a part of the Cabinet, Chauhan added.
“It has been decided to set up a ‘cabinet’ for the protection and promotion of cattle in the state,” Chouhan wrote. “Animal Husbandry, Forest, Panchayat and Rural Development, Revenue, Home and Farmers Welfare Department will be included in the panel. The first meeting will be held on November 22 at 12 noon on Gopashtami at Gau Sanctuary, Agar Malwa.”
Kamdhenu Gau Abhyaranya in Agar Malwa is India’s first cow sanctuary, which was set up by Chouhan’s government in 2017. It was developed by the Madhya Pradesh Gau Samvardhan Board on a budget of Rs 32 crore. The sanctuary, which is spread across 472 hectares, was later privatised due to financial crises, according to the Hindustan Times.
Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya told The Indian Express the decision to constitute a cow Cabinet was aimed at developing an alternative source of rural employment by harnessing the potential of cows and the resources available through it.
“Industrialisation cannot be the only solution towards providing employment,” Vijayvargiya said. “The economy surrounding cows is a sustainable one which is going on for over 2,000 years. Through this Cabinet, the government will provide for sustainable infrastructure for developing a cow-economy to raise incomes in the rural setup.”
The announcement came a day after the BJP-led government of Madhya Pradesh said it would introduce a “love jihad law” in the Assembly, which includes five years of rigorous imprisonment for violators. “Love jihad” is a term frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions solely to convert them to Islam.