The Akhilesh Yadav government seems to have hit upon another populist scheme gifting cows to widows. Animal Husbandry Minister Rajkishore Singh,who floated the idea,says Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is enthusiastic about the scheme.
I discussed the scheme with the CM and he has given the green signal. Now we are busy working on the modalities of the scheme, Singh said on Thursday. High milk yielding cows will be bought by the Animal Husbandry Department for the scheme,he said.
Singh stated that the scheme will be for rural areas only where keeping a cow is easy. Usually every house in a village has an animal. The cow will be gifted to widows. It will be manageable for them as fodder is easily available in villages, he stated.
The purpose of the scheme is that widows may earn some money by selling the milk. Although no budgetary provision has been made for the scheme in the annual budget of 2013-14,the minister is hopeful that he can manage the resources from the CM.
We can launch the scheme in a small way in one or two districts and later extend it to other parts of the state. Funds will not be an issue, he stated.
Officials in the Animal Husbandry Department stated that details of the scheme are being worked out. The selection criteria for the beneficiaries will be decided after collecting data from the Women and Child Welfare Department. Only poor and really needy widows will be given cows. The animals will be insured and the nearest government veterinary centre will have a list for attending on the animal.
The Women and Child Welfare Department is responsible for the welfare of widows. There are nearly 16.66 lakh widows who are getting a pension of Rs 300 per month from the department. The cost of a cow is estimated to be around Rs 30,000. That means the scheme will cost an estimated Rs 4,998 crore if all widows were to get cows.