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Opposition attacks NDA govt in RS over cow protection bill

Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2018 (15:26 IST)
New Delhi: The Government on Friday assured that it was moving ahead with cow protection and improvement of animal husbandry particularly in the last three years since it came to office. Replying to a two-hour debate on private members' legislation on The Cow Protection Bill, 2017, which saw several Opposition members attacking the Government for bringing in the Bill in the post-lunch session in the Rajya Sabha, Agriculture Minister recounted the series of steps it had taken to ensure protection of the national animal, saying that Rs 10,000 crore had been allocated for this purpose in the Union Budget for 2018-19.

'Our Government is working for the preservation and cultivation of the cow,' said the Minister as he urged the member to withdraw the Bill. In this connection, he cited the setting up of a National Bovine Productivity Mission in 2016 to enhance cow productivity and a new National Genomic Centre to protect the estimated 8.8 crore milch population in the country.

'It should have been done earlier, but better late than never,' he told the members.The Bill moved by BJP member Subramanian Swamy seeks to create an authority to ensure  stabilition of cow population of the Bos Indicus species and ban on cow slaughter providing for death penalty as deterrent punishment.

Stressing that his concern for the animal was restricted to the Bos Indicus species, the indigenous cow breed, Dr Swamy agreed to withdraw his legislation at the Minister's request. 'I am satisfied for now but if the Government does not take steps I will again come back to the Bill,' he stated.

The Minister said when his government came to power, 97 per cent of the allocation was going on mixed breed cows, but this had since changed. There were 27 Rashtriya Gokul Mission schemes which were operational across various states and gokulgram had been set up to help farmers. Dr Swamy demanded a voluntary cess by Government to see the cows are protected after they stop giving milk.

Assuring that the Government was committed to the preservation and culture of cow, the Minister also referred to the several measures initiated by his government, including opening semen banks, setting up of a portal to provide information to farmers and "Nakul Swasthya Patra" for promoting the indigenous breed.Members of the House called for steps for taking proper care of the health of the cow and for its protection.

Dr Swamy earlier tabling the Bill said it was necessary to ensure the protection of cow not just for religious purposes but also because of its multifaceted qualities.In this context, he pointed out that while cow urine was used for medicinal purposes, cow dung is being used for building bricks.
Dr Swamy said beef eating was not prevalent during the Mughal rule.'It is the British who began the practice,' he said.He said the purpose of bringing the Bill was that cow needed to be looked after.He said capital punishment should be given in extreme cases of cow slaughter.Earler initiating the discussion on the Bill, Anand Bhaskar Rapolu of the Congress said at present cow protection was being used as an agenda to divert attention from the real issue of cow Health.'We are not dealing with issues of cow health, but are only focusing on issues that polarise. It is the situation of the health of cows that needs to be looked into. We should not use them as a political tool,' he said.

Ram Kumar Verma of the BJP said all sections of society have held the cow in reverence.Javed Ali Khan of the Samajwadi Party also urged everyone no to use the cow as a political tool.He demanded that the cow be declared as a national animal.However, his suggestions to break ties with countries which did not ban beef eating drew 
the comment from Railway Minister Piyush Goyal that the member had converted a serious topic into frivolity drawing protests from the SP and Congress benches.

Even Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the Trinamool Congress objected to the Minister's comments demanding expunction of the remark by the Minister however, the Chair did not oblige. D Raja of the CPI warned the Government that it was playing with cow using it as a weapon of killing fellow citizens if the Bill was passed. 'Mob lynching is going on and the Bill encourages mob lynching and cow vigilantism.'

If this Bill is accepted, it will lead to Aryan and non-Aryan division,' he added and asked Dr Swamy to go through the Constituent Assembly debates.'We are dividing people in the name of cow,' he said.Shankarbhai Vegad, Megharaj Jain and Mahesh Poddar of the BJP spoke of the cow protection measures initiated by the Government.(UNI)
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