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HomeIndiaGovernanceMore moo-lah for cow welfare: Haryana govt hikes Gau Seva Aayog budget...

More moo-lah for cow welfare: Haryana govt hikes Gau Seva Aayog budget 10x to Rs 400 cr

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who also holds the finance portfolio, made the announcement while tabling the state’s budget for FY 2023-24 in the Vidhan Sabha Friday.

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Gurugram: Haryana’s 2023-24 budget sets aside Rs 400 crore for the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, which oversees cow welfare in the state, marking a 10-fold increase from the allocation for 2022-23.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who also holds the finance portfolio, made the announcement while tabling the state’s budget for FY 2023-24 in the Vidhan Sabha Friday.

“Panchayat land will be made available with the concurrence of gram panchayats for new gaushalas (cow shelters) registered with the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog. The gaushalas will be linked to the GOBARdhan scheme under which biogas plants will be constructed in every district,” he said. 

The GOBARdhan scheme aims to support villages with the safe management of cattle waste, agriculture waste and organic waste in rural areas which, in turn, helps curb vector-borne diseases.

“I hope that, with these two measures, we will ensure care and protection of stray cows while also eliminating the occurrence of accidents being caused by stray cattle on the roads,” Khattar said in his budget speech.

The state has “632 gaushalas” that are registered with Haryana Gau Seva Aayog and these house around “4.6 lakh stray cattle”, the chief minister added.

Welcoming the hike, Sharwan Kumar Garg and Puran Mal Yadav — president and vice-president, respectively, of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog — said the allocation will lead to a tenfold improvement in the “sewa (service)” of cows in the state.

In a press statement issued immediately after the budget was presented, Garg and Yadav said, “This budget is not merely for the welfare of common people, but also for the welfare of gauvansh (cattle).”

On the Gobardhan scheme, the statement added, “This scheme will bring new job opportunities for villagers and enhance their income. This will also help in the production of organic manure for the farmers’ agriculture fields and help farmers in increasing natural farming. With more funds coming from the budget, gau van (cow forests) will be set up on the village common land so that no cow remains orphaned.”

Also Read: ‘Cow dung protects from nuclear radiation,’ says Gujarat court in illegal cattle transport case

Gau Seva Aayog, district- & state-level task force

According to the official website of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, it was established under Section 3 of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog Act, 2010, enacted by the legislature for the “preservation and welfare of cows” in the state. The Aayog’s “main objective is to work for the proper implementation of laws with respect to the prohibition of slaughter and/or cruelty to cows”, it adds. 

Vijay Kumar Yadav, a Haryana Civil Services (HCS) officer, is currently serving as secretary of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog.

Its ex-officio members are the principal secretaries of the state government’s revenue and disaster management, urban development, agriculture, finance, animal husbandry and dairying, and development and panchayats departments, the director general of police (DGP), director general of animal husbandry and dairying department and a representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India.

Within a year of coming to power in Haryana, the Khattar-led BJP government enacted the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015, making cow slaughter punishable with up to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

Under the Act enacted in 2015, the word ‘cow’ means and includes bull, bullock, ox, calf, heifer, as well as disabled, diseased, and barren cows.

In July 2021, the state government also notified a Special Cow Protection Task Force (SCPTF) with an aim to prevent cow smuggling and slaughter, and to rehabilitate stray cattle and take legal action against cow smugglers. The task force was set up at the state and the district level.

At the state level, the task force is headed by the chairman of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, and counts the special secretaries of the revenue and disaster management, and animal husbandry and dairying departments as its members. Other members in the state-level task force include the additional director general of police (ADG), the state’s additional legal remembrancer, and secretary of the Gau Seva Aayog.

At the district level, the task force has 11 members including the deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police, the municipal commissioner, the chief executive officer of the zilla parishad, the district attorney, and the deputy director of the animal husbandry and dairying department.

In addition, non-official members of the district-level task force include three members nominated by the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog and two ‘gau sevaks (cow protectors)’ nominated by the deputy commissioner.

However, stray cattle continues to be a menace in Haryana, damaging crops and causing road accidents. 

During the monsoon session of the assembly in August 2022, the Haryana government had informed the House that at least 900 people had died in stray-cattle-related accidents in the state over the preceding five years.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

Also Read: Atmanirbhar gaushalas, boost to by-products — welfare scheme for stray cows awaits Modi govt nod


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