New Delhi: The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is looking to make farmers and those living in rural areas self-sufficient through the help of cow products such as dung, urine and milk, the board’s chairman, Vallabh Kathiria, has told ThePrint.
Kathiria said the Aayog, set up in 2019 for the protection, promotion and conservation of indigenous cattle in the country, is looking to deliver more cows to each and every farmer household.
“We are working hard to create a self-reliant India through cows,” Kathiria said. “We are also doing webinars between farmers and gau sevaks for this purpose. We are telling them how the rural population and farmers in the village can become self-sufficient with the help of the cow.”
Kathiria said the Aayog has formulated a blueprint of its plans.
“There should be at least one cow in every farmer household in the villages. We are working in this direction,” he said. “Those who have more space can even keep more cows as per their convenience. Normally, an indigenous cow delivers five to seven litres of milk on a daily basis. The owners can keep two litres and sell the remaining three or four litres. We are trying to ensure that those rearing cows get Rs 45 to Rs 50 per litre of milk. Right now they are getting only Rs 30 only.”
Kathiria said the initiatives are part of the Modi government’s Atma Nirbhar efforts as it will provide employment and an income in villages.
“If farmers want to engage in business by rearing more cows, then the government will provide them loans and other subsidies. Through this, even a small farmer can earn Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000 a day by selling milk, buttermilk, ghee and other cow products,” he said.
“Once a small gaushala (cowshed) opens up in any village, many more people will get employment opportunities. A veterinary physician will be able to treat cows. Fodder sellers will be able to sell fodder in the gaushala.”
‘Not just agriculture, working on other sectors as well’
Kathiria said the Aayog isn’t just confining its activities to the rural sector.
“Keeping the self-reliant India campaign in mind, we have already started making Lord Ganesha’s idols out of cow dung. This campaign is being run intensely across the whole country,” he said.
“Through this, we are providing employment to poor women in the villages. In the gaushalas they are being tutored about making many kinds of goods, including Lord Ganesha’s idol, from cow dung. These women are manufacturing around 50 items ranging from pots to key rings from the cow dung.”
He also said the cow body is promoting the manufacture of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilisers from cow dung.
“Today large gaushalas are being provided facilities for proper utilisation of cow urine and dung, which can be sent to bio-pesticide and bio-fertiliser plants,” he said. “Farmers can also prepare it on a small scale. Similarly, both small and big entrepreneurs can do this work quite easily. Entrepreneurs can also produce bio gas and CNG. The central government is extending subsidies and loans for all of this.
“Apart from this, work is currently going on to produce soap, shampoo and phenyl apart from making medicines out of cow dung,” he added. “This has provided employment to the economically weaker population in the villages. Small self-help groups of women are working in this direction.”
The opposition, however, isn’t buying any of the claims.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that cow dung and urine have their own unique medicinal properties, but under the guise of the cow, the government is only trying to hide its own failures,” Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh told The Print.
“Almost 122 million people lost their jobs and livelihoods in April. Will their jobs return to them by doing all these things? How have they created employment opportunities for all those who have lost their jobs?”