New Delhi: To desist farmers from selling cow after it stops producing milk, Central Government is mulling a scheme to provide cow owners free fodder, Union Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said.
Addressing a conference on cow conservation organised by Rashtriya Godhan Mahasangh along with Union Agricultural Ministry here, Javadekar said the scheme is being planned to take care of cows after she stops producing milk and also avoid damages caused to forest areas when animals are taken for feeding in jungles.
On cow slaughter, the Minister traded cautiously and said it is a call state governments need to take.
"Encouraging farmers to conserve cow when she stops producing milk is a big challenge. Farmers feed cow until she produces milk, but when she stops producing milk, he hands it over to butcher out of financial compulsions.
"Farmers love cows, but expenses incurred to feed her when she stops producing milk is a concern. Hence, we are thinking upon how jungles around villages can be utilised in this regard," Javadekar said.
He said the Government is mulling cultivating grass in forest areas under MNREGA and make it available to farmers in neighbouring villages without charging for it.
"The scheme shall be made effective soon," he added.
The Minister further said the Government is considering increasing grant offered for setting up goshala (cow-sheds) from current Rs 22 lakh.
Javadekar identified increasing cow milk productivity as another challenge before the Government and lauded role played by BJP-ruled Haryana administration in this regard by declaring subsidy.
"Until what time our cows will continue to produce milk up to 2 litres? We need to increase it. The Haryana Government has taken initiatives to encourage those who increase cow milk production from 2 litres to 6 litres by rewarding with Rs 10,000 and thereon for more production. They are also offering subsidy to purchase cows which is a progressive incentivisation," he said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Haryana Agricultural Minister O P Dhankar and others also addressed the gathering.