Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to to impose a ‘Gau kalyan cess’ (cow welfare cess) on eight “profit-making” public sector departments to generate funds for setting up temporary ‘gauvansh ashray asthal’ (cow shelters) across the state to take proper care of stray cattle.
The state cabinet meeting, presided by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has approved this proposal last evening. It has decided to set up cow shelters under the urban and rural civic bodies and ‘cow welfare cess” will be imposed for the same.
For the present, the government has decided to open temporary cow sheds (gaushalas) in all villages, panchayats, municipalities, nagar panchayats and municipal corporations. These cowsheds will be constructed through MNREGS funds, he added.
In every district, both urban and rural areas, a cowshed with a capacity of minimum 1,000 animals will be built and for this, a total of 2 per cent “cow welfare cess” will be imposed on excise, mandi parishad and toll tax among others.
A 0.5% of cess will be levied on toll tax while the cess on mandi fees has been increased to 2% from current 1%. The cess on excise is yet to be decided by the government.
Stating farmers are fast taking the mechanised route, the officials said more and more cattle owners are deserting their animals. He said the new policy will ensure these stray animals are taken care of and concerned departments work with the state government in coordination for better results.
Besides aiding the animal husbandry department, these ‘ashray asthals’ will be working on a self-sustaining model. Last week, the chief minister had directed the officials to make immediate arrangements for proper care of stray cows. He had ordered removal of illegal encroachments to pave the way for fresh grazing grounds in different parts of the state.