New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said the government is mulling a plan to ensure the protection of grazing land for cows and provide cow fodder “free of cost” to people for their livestock.
“There is a need to protect pasture lands. If there is 500 acres of land, 25 acres be set aside for growing good quality grass and fodder. Draft of a policy is being prepared, which will include a provision to provide protein-rich fodder free of cost to the people living in villages adjoining the jungles for their livestock,” Javadekar said while speaking at a national conference on ‘Gaushalas’ (cowsheds) here.
He invited suggestions from the participants from across the country for the kind of policy-based decisions that can be taken to improve the situation.
Javadekar said that the conference will discuss three core issues including the measures to be taken up to increase the milk productivity of Indian cows, making provision for feed, fodder and ancillary requirements for Indian cows and management of cows in the post-productive phase.
Addressing the gathering, Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, who was also present at the conference, said that livestock are the backbone of the rural economy as they form the basis of occupation of 60 million people.
“There are 19 crore livestock in the country, which is about 14 percent of the world’s livestock and out of this, 15 crore are indigenous livestock. The government has granted funds to establish National Breeding Centres for the promotion and protection of indigenous livestock,” he said, adding “The government has granted Rs.582 crore in the last two years for the promotion and protection of indigenous livestock.”
The minister also referred to the average annual increase in milk production over 10 years was 4.62 percent in India, while it was 2.2 percent in the world.
“The annual increase in milk production for 2014-15 and 2015-16 is 9.59 percent. While the availability of milk in the world is 296 grams per person, in India it is 340 grams’,” Singh added.