The University Grants Commission has asked all universities to encourage students to take the Kamdhenu Gau Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Examination, PTI reported on Wednesday. The online voluntary national-level exam, which will test students’ knowledge on “cow science”, will be held on February 25.

“I write this to request you, to give wide publicity to this initiative and encourage students to enrol/register themselves for this examination,” UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain said in a letter to the vice-chancellors of all universities on Monday. He also asked for wider dissemination of information regarding the exam.

“As you are aware, Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA), Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India, established in February 2019, has been working on dissemination of information on economic, scientific, environmental, health, agriculture and spiritual relevance of indigenous cow in the country. Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is going to conduct an All India On-Line ‘Kamdhenu Gau Vigyan Prachar- Prasar Examination’ on 25th February, 2021 for students of primary, secondary & senior secondary schools/ colleges/ universities and for all citizens.”

— Jain’s notice, according to ThePrint.

The exam will be conducted by Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog, an agency established for the protection of cows under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The hour-long multiple choice exam will have no registration fee and is open to students as well as the general public. It will be conducted in five categories – primary students (upto Class 8), secondary students (from Class 9 to 12), college and university students, the general public, and NRIs. Apart from English, the exam will be conducted in 11 regional languages – Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu and Odia.

The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said all participants will get certificates while “successful meritorious candidates” will be given prizes as well.

The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog had announced its plans of conducting the exam on January 5. It had said that the exam was aimed to “infuse curiosity into all Indians about cows and make them aware of the unexplored potential and business opportunities a cow can offer, even after it stops giving milk”.

On January 18, Aayog chairperson Vallabhbhai Kathiria wrote to Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotra, seeking support for “wide publicity” of the examination, reported The Wire. “I request you to advise the Secretary (Higher Education)/Secretary (SEL) and the concerned officials of UGC, AICTE, Central Universities, IIT, IIM, NITs, CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalayas, NIOH, IGNOU, and other Central Governmental educational institutes to issue necessary instructions for help in the online Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Parchar-Prasar Examination and give wide publicity to make the examination a great success,” Kathiria wrote.

The cow protection agency had uploaded a 54-page “reference material” for those interested in taking the exam. In the document, it described cow dung as “antiseptic”, “tooth polish” and having “anti-radioactive” properties. The document, however, is no longer available on the agency’s website.