Two years ago, the Gujarat government announced that farmers involved in indigenous cow-based complete natural farming would be assisted with Rs 900 per month or Rs 10,800 per year per cow for maintenance. The farmers were asked to make online applications to avail the benefits. The money, the state said, would be transferred every quarter to the bank accounts of the farmers who apply for the scheme on the i-khedut portal.
It has been two years since, but the benefit has only reached a handful of farmers. The scheme was aimed at covering 50,000 farmers. The government in its budget had also made a provision of Rs 50 crore for the scheme, but little of this has been utilised to date. The plan was initially implemented for four months before the tiresome documentation process pushed farmers to stop availing of the assistance. Out of 45 lakh indigenous cows in Gujarat, only one lakh indigenous cow owners could avail of the assistance.
Even as this two-year-old scheme lags behind in proper implementation, the Gujarat government has decided to provide financial assistance of Rs 30 per cattle to registered trusts in the state under the Mukhyamantri Gaumata Poshan Yojana from April this year. The government has allocated Rs 500 crore in its annual budget for the year for the Mukhyamantri Gaumata Poshan Yojana to be helpful to around 4.42 lakh cattle in various cattle ponds in the state. In addition to that, the government also promised to give Rs 2-crore assistance to cattle ponds spread over 14 acres and maintaining more than 1,000 cattle for setting up cattle dung-based bio-gas plants.
All this assistance—if effectively implemented—could have really come in handy, especially at a time when the Lumpy Skin Disease has spread to 26 of Gujarat’s 33 districts and has claimed more than 4,000 cattle heads.