If it wasn't enough that citizens of the country are forced to brave long queues and give all their personal data for Aadhaar cards, now, it seems, even cows are not spared. The central government, which has already received multiple warnings from the Supreme court over making Aadhaar 'mandatory' for humans, is now reportedly mulling a scheme to give unique IDs to bovines as well.
No, this is not a joke. Yes, the truth these days is much more bizarre than fiction.
The Centre, according to multiple media reports, has proposed to the Supreme Court that Aadhaar-like unique identification number be given to cows in India.
"Each cow and its progeny across India should get a Unique Identification Number for tracking," the government reportedly said in its report to the apex court.
According to ToI report, this move is aimed at providing special care for cattle beyond the age of milking, for cow protection, and to prevent the smuggling of cattle across the India-Bangladesh border.
This decision comes bang in the middle of a roaring debate on cow vigilantism in the country. The entire nation was shocked by visuals from Jammu that showed self proclaimed 'gau rakshaks' terrorise a nomadic family of cow herders, even injuring a young child and an elderly man.
With the government, too, now stressing on this additional 'protection', these goons may just gain additional arsenal to attack those without required tags and documents.
According to reports, one lakh technicians have been armed with 50,000 tablets and their task is to affix a polyurethane tag on the ears of the bovine. For this the centre has reportedly allocated Rs.148 crore to accommodate costs of the tag, tag applicators, tablets and health cards.
Oh, and the taxpayers' money is being disbursed to tag these animals even as their plight in this adverse drought escapes the notice of the Centre. Hundreds of cattle have died in Tamil Nadu alone, in the last few months. Reports suggest that five cows died everyday in the last five months in Nilgiris district. That amounts to 750 cows, in this district alone, that the Centre does not have to bother tagging.
Their death has been purely due to the lack of fodder and water. A farmer from Masinagudi in Tamil Nadu told ToI, "Last week nearly 20 cattle died in the village. The revenue officials are always informed about it but no steps are taken. They do not even conduct post-mortem."
In the stomach and intestines cows that were examined after their death, the quantity of plastic waste proved to be shocking. These animals, pushed to starvation by the drought, reportedly took to eating trash in the absence of any other fodder.
So perhaps, when the Centre sends these one lakh technicians to Tamil Nadu to tag cows and 'protect' them, they could send some fodder too. That way, there will be some animals still alive, to actually get a â€˜unique identificationâ€™.
Or maybe once they get their Unique ID tags, the country's cows can finally be enrolled in a mid-day meal scheme.