Modi as CM hiked cow pro­tec­tion bud­get to ₹150cr


Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - NATION - Hi­ral Dave

AHMED­ABAD: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has in re­cent days hit out at self-styled gau rak­shaks for “run­ning shops in the name of cow pro­tec­tion”.

Cow pro­tec­tors, how­ever, flour­ished in his home state Gu­jarat when he was the chief min­is­ter.

Be­tween 2011 and 2014, the Gu­jarat gov­ern­ment headed by Modi had dis­bursed ₹75 lakh in cash re­wards to 1,394 vig­i­lantes for catch­ing il­le­gal cat­tle trans­porters and fil­ing FIRS against them, the web­site of the gov­ern­ment-run Gau­seva and Gauchar Vikas Board (GGVB) states.

Al­most an equal amount was given to 2,321 shel­ter providers for res­cued cat­tle. To pro­vide fur­ther mo­ti­va­tion to cow pro­tec­tion vol­un­teers, ₹3.75 lakh was given to the “top per­form­ers”, which in­cluded re­cip­i­ents of the bi­en­nial Best Cow Pro­tec­tor award.

In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions, Modi also de­nounced the “pink rev­o­lu­tion” (beef ex­ports).

The GGVB was set up un­der the an­i­mal hus­bandry de­part­ment in 1999, but re­mained de­funct for al­most a decade be­fore Modi re­vived it in 2010. To make it proac­tive, his gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a slew of schemes. There was even a bi­en­nial Best Cow Pro­tec­tor award worth ₹25,000. The gov­ern­ment in­creased the an­nual grant to the GGVB from ₹1.5 crore to ₹150 crore. The board’s web­site says its main ob­jec­tive is to “co­or­di­nate with groups in­volved in pre­vent­ing slaugh­ter of cow and prog­eny” and “ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of cow pro­tec­tion laws”.

In 2011, the state as­sem­bly passed the Gu­jarat An­i­mal In 2010, state re­vived Gau­seva and Gauchar Vikas Board, ap­pointed chair­man Be­tween 2011 and 2014, ₹1.53 cr spent on cow pro­tec­tors and cat­tle shel­ters To mo­ti­vate gau rak­shaks, ₹3.75 lakh re­leased as re­ward to best per­form­ers.

2011, that made “trans­porta­tion, con­sump­tion and sale of cow and prog­eny” il­le­gal. Only the slaugh­ter of cows, calves, bulls and bul­locks were banned be­fore this law.

Ear­lier, the penalty for vi­o­lat­ing cow pro­tec­tion laws in­cluded im­pris­on­ment up to one year and fine of ₹1,000. The amended law pro­vided jail terms up to seven years or fine of ₹50,000, or both.

“Of the ₹150 crore an­nual grant, ₹100 crore is spent on de­vel­op­ing pas­toral land. The re­main­ing amount is utilised on var­i­ous cat­tle wel­fare and pro­tec­tions schemes,” GGVB chair­man Val­labh Kathiria said. The board’s re­vival co­in­cided with the rise in the num­ber of groups in­volved in cow pro­tec­tion. 50 groups are ac­tive un­der the larger Gau Rak­shak Dal (GRD) .

Modi’s state­ment that 70-80% vig­i­lantes are anti-so­cial el­e­ments has irked the gau rak­shaks.

“The state­ment of the Prime Min­is­ter is like an en­cour­age­ment to slaugh­ter­houses. For the safety of gen­uine gau rak­shaks, the gov­ern­ment should start is­su­ing iden­tity cards,” says Mayur Thakkar, pres­i­dent of the state GRD.

Thakkar said groups af­fil­i­ated with the GRD have filed roughly 100 cases an­nu­ally over the past four years. Neha Pa­tel, prob­a­bly the lone woman gau rak­shak in Gu­jarat, feels the PM’S state­ment is an ex­ag­ger­a­tion. “There are fake gau rak­shaks too, but their per­cent­age would be around 20 and

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