Swami Akhileshwaranand Giri the chairman of Cow Protection Board’s executive committee and newly elevated cabinet minister has proposed that a cow ministry is constituted by the Madhya Pradesh government, for the bovine’s preservation and protection, Times of India has reported. Currently, all the cow-related matters are handled by Animal Husbandry Department, which hasn’t made Giri happy as he wants the bovine kept out of the animal category.
As per the spiritual leader, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of cows in the country, thus the state should take steps to protect them. As quoted by TOI, Giri claimed that indigenous livestock should be protected by every sensitive government and the cow ministry would also generate employment.
As claimed by him, bringing all the departments (cow related) would result in an enhanced budget thereby ensuring sufficient employment, nourishment and milk for people.
As per a PTI report, Giri has proposed that the cow ministry can be funded by the resources available for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) related works. He has also complained that the cow protection board is a toothless body with a mere Rs 16 crore budget, to further press his demand for a new ministry.
As per the drafted proposal in this regard, it has been demanded that Rs 1000 crore of the Rs 15,000 crore MNREGA funds be earmarked for the ministry.
Going by the figures provided, Madhya Pradesh has about 1.96 crore cows and Giri has claimed that only 1.5 lakh of them are cared for in 604 registered cow shelters.
This proposal by Giri has started seeing political reactions, with the Congress calling it a poll strategy. Giri though has shrugged off political implications arising out of his move.
The animal husbandry minister – Antar Singh Arya seems to be playing down the demand by claiming that they haven’t received any suggestion for a cow ministry and would look into it after it arrives.