In a move aimed at wooing farmers for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Centre is mulling a stipend of Rs 1,000 to owners of cows in Bundelkhand region. Cow owners would get the incentive for the upkeep of their cattle every month from the Central government pool once a proposal in this regard gets an approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance minister Arun Jaitley.
According to sources, Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh has constituted a committee to give a final shape to the proposal and the panel, headed by Ramesh Kumar, Joint Secretary in the ministry and would submit it by month-end. The decision in this regard was taken after over 50 representatives of Bundelkhand Kisan Samriddhi Abhiyan submitted their plan to encourage domestication of the animal in the parched region.
Notably, five out of seven Members of Parliament from the region were present in the meeting, including Laxmi Narayan Yadav, who represents Sagar constituency of Bundelkhand region.
Talking to Millennium Post, Shyam Bihari Gupta, the convenor of Bundelkhand Kisan Samriddhi Abhiyan (BKSA), said: “The poor condition of Buldelkhand farmers is known to everyone. The move has been initiated to improve the livelihood of poor farmers of the area who are forced to work as marginal labourers in different places for better earnings.”
Gupta, a resident of Jhansi, further added that the agriculture ministry has agreed in principle to adopt BKSA’s proposal as it would help poor farmers in improving their livelihood.
“A cow is a very productive animal. Apart from its milk, by-products of a cow are also used for many purposes. A cow produces about 8-10 kg of cow dung everyday, which can add to their income or they may save their fuel cost by using it in bio-gas plants,” said Gupta, who was present in the meeting.
Besides, the agriculture ministry has also proposed to promote organic farming in Bundelkhand. Districts of Uttar Pradesh that are parts of Bundelkhand include Jhansi, Jalaun, Lalitpur, Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Mahoba, while the districts of Madhya Pradesh which are part of the parched region include Datia, Chhatarpur, Damoh, Panna, Sagar, Tikamgarh and Vidisha.
The affinity for cows is not new for this government. Earlier, during the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, the BJP had centred its whole campaign on the holy cow. However, the move failed to yield victory for the saffron party and resulted in a ruthless defeat.