Gau Aayog wants to milk 'cow cess' for bovine welfare


Gujarat government may levy a 'cow cess' to generate additional funds for the welfare of cows in the state. Punjab and Haryana have already levied such cow cesses for this purpose. Gujarat Gau Seva Aayog has proposed several new revenue models to raise more funds for cow welfare in the state, especially for stray cows which are also a nuisance for traffic. If the state government approves these proposals, Gujarat will become the third state after Punjab and Haryana to levy a cess for cow welfare and development. Chairman, Gau Seva Aayog, Dr Vallabha Kathiriya, said they had proposed to the state government that it levy 0.5% cess on turnover of all the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and the dairy sector to generate more money for cow welfare. "We are also considering options like the cess on all products that the Haryana government has levied. However, the Gujarat government may first levy cess on the APMCs. We expect to generate Rs 200 crore to Rs 250 crore in the first phase from the cess on APMCs," Kathiriya said. He further said that they had proposed to the Gujarat government that it promote cow welfare and development through funds from private persons. "This money should be considered for tax exemption under various schemes," Kathiriya said. He said that they had recommended waiver of electricity charges on power supplied to gau shalas and panjrapoles. "Panjrapoles and gau shalas that do not have power supply should be given free electricity," he said. Kathiriya added that they had also proposed that the money collected from the new cess should be placed at the disposal of the collector. "Every Collector should have to make district action plan for cow welfare and use the cess fund locally," he said. The Gujarat government currently gives Rs 150 crore for gauchar (pastrol) land development activities and Rs 62 crore for other cow welfare schemes. Kathiriya said: "We have proposed to levy a new cess in addition to these grants so more money can be made available for cow welfare.''

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