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HOLY COW! Now, Award for best “Desi cow”. And We Are Not Kidding

Narendra Modi government is putting a premium on indigenous breeds of cattle to promote dairy produce. And for that, farmers and gaushalas maintaining the best herd of desi cows can now get up to Rs 5 lakh.

30 awards of Rs.5 lakh, 3 lakh and 1 lakh will be given out in November this year on National Milk Day amongst nominees send by the states to the Centre of individual farmers, gaushalas or cow shelters and breeders’ societies by 31 March.

The central government has criticised the previous government for not putting enough efforts to develop and conserve India’s own 39 recognised cow breeds which have resulted in 74% desi cows remaining uncovered by artificial insemination.

The Central government has also planned of sending SMS to 1 lakh officials next week across India to spread the message.

There are many indigenous cow breeds which are nearly extinct. At present, the breeds on target are Sahiwal in Punjab, Rathi in Rajasthan and Gir in Gujarat. The Centre has come up with ‘Gopal Ratna’ and ‘Kamadhenu’ cash awards to reward and motivate individual farmers and trusts, gaushalas and non-governmental organisations that maintain the best “true to breed” indigenous cows, adopt scientific management techniques and report increase in milk production. 

According to the government, indigenous cows are more resilient to Indian climate and can handle the thermal stress better than exotic crossbred ones. One of the officials had said that countries like US, Brazil and Australia have imported India’s indigenous cows.

A big plan is in the works to select 500 “high productive” bulls and use advanced reproduction techniques with select indigenous cows to produce “7,000 super elite cows”, which in turn will help upgrade 5 million indigenous cattle each year, Devendra Chaudhary, secretary of department of animal husbandry and fisheries, told ET.

“We plan to use select 2,000 bulls to produce 10 million upgraded cattle of such breeds every year through assisted reproduction. This will be a big game changer,” Chaudhary said

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