Udder card for cows?

Ipsita Kabiraj
NSoJ Bureau
The cow is sacred to many in our country and even cow slaughter is banned in our directive principles. We even have had debates on cow slaughter in our constituent assembly. Recently Gujarat assembly made cow slaughter punishable with life imprisonment. And if none of these are enough, Rajasthan even has a minister for cows!!
And in a recent turn of events, the government has decided to provide a unique identification number to millions of cows and buffaloes in India. As per the plan, every cow in the country and its family members will get a 12 digit identification number to be placed inside the ear lobe. According to reports, “The unique ID will contain details of the cattle’s age, breed, sex, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks, according to the panel set up by the home ministry. In the case of milch cattle, it will also have the lactation profile. This ID will take the form of a polyurethane tag.”
The government says this is being mainly done to prevent smuggling of cows across the border. Let us not forget the fact that India became the biggest producer nd exporter of beef in 2014.
After the news broke out, Twitter exploded with raging debates about the necessity of the scheme. The government is spending Rs. 148 crores to make this project see the light of day. Now, one might question, in a country where poverty and illiteracy are major issues with one-third classified as below poverty line, does the government have its priorities straight? If that is not enough we also have the highest number of stunted children.
Instead of issuing aadhar cards to cows, why not invest the same resources in making sure every citizen of India possesses an Aadhar card?
So why does the government want to invest a huge sum on the gau mata? They claim that it will lead to better breeding, increase in milk production, and also will double the owner’s income by 2022. There is no way to find out if the quality and quantity of milk yielded will improve but the least it will do is create a database of cattle in the country. It might also keep track of illegal transportation and slaughter of animals.
Cow-love in a country like India is nothing new, as is evident by the many vigilante groups doing rounds in the country. If what happened at Dadri which made global headlines was not shameful enough we have had innocent blood shed over the cow in Alwar and poor shepherds in Kashmir being harassed by so-called cow protectors.
However, the timing of the proposal seems to be quite odd, with Kashmir violence spiraling out of control, the acute water crisis plaguing many parts of the nation and the Naxal attacks. One might also inquire- why only cows? Why not goats as well? They provide milk and meat, just like cows. Let us not forget we are also world’s largest producer of milk. One can only hope that there is more thought into any new initiatives as we can ill afford any more disasters as we near our 70th birthday.

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