The Madhya Pradesh government, which recently announced the formation of a "Cow Cabinet" for the protection of cows, is mulling to impose a cess to generate additional funds for operating cow-shelters across the state, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Sunday, November 22.
Addressing a public meeting in Agar Malwa district, the Chief Minister, who chaired the first meeting of the cow cabinet, said that the Gaushalas (cow sheds) will be operated by the government with the support of social organisations and self-help groups, and additional funds will be generated, if needed, through cow cess.
"I am thinking of imposing some minor tax to raise money for the welfare of the ''gaumata'' and for the upkeep of cow sheds...Is it alright?" the BJP leader said.
"We used to feed the first "roti" to cows. Similarly, we used to feed the last roti to dogs. Such was the concern for animals in our Indian culture -- which is vanishing now. So we are thinking to collect some small tax from the public for the sake of cows," the CM said.
The BJP leader also announced that 2,000 new cow shelters will be constructed in the state which will facilitate stray cattle. "There are around 7 lakh to 8 lakh stray cattle in Madhya Pradesh. The state government will construct around 2,000 new cow shelters. Not all of the cow shelters will be run by the govt but NGOs will also be operating them," he said.
CM Chouhan and his "Cow Cabinet" colleagues also decided to set up a research centre in the region to boost a cow-based economy. He stressed on replacing eggs with cow milk in children's diet to tackle malnutrition.
CM Chouhan on November 18, announced that the state government has decided to constitute a ''Cow Cabinet'' for the protection of cows in the state. Animal husbandry, Forest, Panchayat, Rural Development, Home and Farmer Welfare departments will be a part of the cabinet.