Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog(RKA), a government body set up for cow welfare, cancelled its controversial "cow science" examination following incessant criticism. Any future awareness program will be conducted "on a scientific basis", the animal husbandry department said.
The decision to cancel the examination came a day after the commission's chairman Vallabhhai Kathiria left office, reported The Hindu.
The RKA had announced the national "Kamadhenu Gau Vigyan Prasar Examination" to be held on 25 February. Over five lakh applicants had submitted their applications to appear for the exam, according to the RKA's official statement.
The exam aims to "infuse curiosity into all Indians about cows and make them aware of the unexplored potential and business opportunities a cow can offer, even after it stops giving milk", the RKA had said in its notification.
The study or reference material for the examination included some unsubstantiated claims about cows including- protection of dung of native cows against radioactivity, traces of gold in cow milk, among other claims.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had also ordered all vice-chancellors of universities across the country to "encourage" students to take an online voluntary national-level exam on ''Gau Vigyan'' or cow science.
"This Cow science examination was announced by the then Chairman Mr Kathiria and his term was until 20 February. Before he left office, he postponed it, "OP Chaudhary, joint secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry said.
"Till date, the ministry was not involved. Only Mr Kathiria was involved and he was conducting the examination. The ministry does not know the exam paper and has not played any role in the reference material for the exam… We will now examine everything on a scientific basis, and then make some decisions," Chaudhary said.
He also said that when RKA was founded in February 2019, it was granted a mandate as an advisory body on issues related to the conservation, protection and development of indigenous cow.
"Awareness programs are always a part of the role, not a problem. But conducting an examination is somewhat different. AICTE, UGC, all these bodies take over [conduct] exam. Taking the test is not a mandate of the RKA. Building awareness is definitely a mandate, but it should be on a scientific basis," he said.
Chaudhary said that after examining the situation, the ministry would appoint a new chairperson for RKA.