New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is looking for scientists to carry out research on primary products of indigenous cows, including urine and dung, with an aim to develop personal-care products such as toothpaste, shampoos and mosquito repellents as well as look for cures to diseases like cancer and diabetes.
The research will be done under the government’s new inter-ministerial funding programme — ‘Scientific Utilisation Through Research Augmentation Prime Products from Indigenous Cows’ (SUTRA-PIC India) — which has been planned with the support of various ministries and government agencies.
The ministries and agencies involved are Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (Ayush), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The government floated the ‘Call for Proposal’ Friday, inviting project proposals from scientists and academics as well as grassroots organisations.
An official at the DST, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint that Rs 98 crore has already been allocated for the programme.
Govt wants research into uniqueness of cows
According to a notification of the programme: “Though many vaidyas and practitioners are using prime products from indigenous cows for various treatments, there is not much scientific studies and research on the same.”
“The research proposals should undertake detailed scientific investigation of chemical profiling, identification of bioactive principle responsible for enhancing activity of antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs and other medicinal properties of prime products from indigenous cows from modern perspective,” it said.
The government wants to fund projects that can help develop “indigenous cows-based utility items”, which include mosquito repellent, floor cleaner, personal-care products like dant manjan (traditional toothpaste), hair oil, shampoos and conditioners.
“Initial studies performed by a few investigations showed the effective development of an anti-dandruff poly-herbal hair conditioner based on cow urine. It is also widely believed that smouldering cow patties keep away mosquitoes,” the notification read.
“Apparently, the traditional Indian village system of wiping the floor daily with a mixture of water and fresh cow dung assured that flies and other insects did not settle there. Various products are available in the market but there is no scientific research on the same,” it said.
The government also called for proposals to research into the uniqueness of cows that are “believed to possess certain unique qualities and characteristics”.
Not the first time
In 2017, the government had set up a 19-member panel to carry out “scientifically validated research on cow-derivatives including its urine”.
The committee was meant to select projects to help scientifically validate the benefits of panchagavya — a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee.
At least 50 proposals were received for the scheme. However, the project never saw the light of the day.