The Government has 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 on Friday, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh recounted the series of steps it had taken to ensure protection of the national animal, saying that Rs 10,000 crore had been allocatedfor 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 NationalBovine 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 stabilisation 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 Government does not take steps I will again come back with 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 schemeswhich 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 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 the cow needed to be looked after. He said capital punishment should be given in extreme cases of cow slaughter.