Freshly churned milk. Check. Revenue generation. Check. Space management. Check. Subsidised hostel accommodation. Check. The genius of the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (National Commission for Cows) might, in one fell swoop, sort out some of the woes of urban living, with their proposal to set up cow hostels in 10 to 15 specially designated areas in cities and urban centres across the country. The newly constituted Aayog, whose mandate is to ensure the sustainable development of cows, has reportedly cited the success of the rural “Gujarat model” as motivation for the coming together of private and public enterprises in this initiative and has also dangled the carrot of monetising the venture by putting to commercial use the milk, cow dung and urine. Not one to do things by halves, the Aayog has even requested the Urban Development Ministry to devise a guideline for the setting up of these cow hostels so that they can be incorporated in urban planning frameworks.
One has to admire the deep consideration of the apex advisory body, headed by Vallabhbhai Kathiria, here. Not only does the proposal take into account the unfulfilled wish of those citizens who have always wanted to nurture the gau mata in the city but were intimidated by a lack of infrastructure and support system, it has also kept in mind some of the key issues facing the nation at the moment — a slump in the economy, the state of public education and urban planning — from the perspective of its chief beneficiary. It is, truth be told, a win-win situation.
Perhaps, there is a lesson or two here for the good people in the Human Resource Development Ministry, whose decision to hike hostel fees and other stipulations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi met with massive protests this week. A partial rollback has been announced but one does wonder what it takes to make a case for judicious use of resources to ensure that India’s public education system remains robust and equitable. A loud and vociferous “moo”, perhaps?