PM Modi was in Uttar Pradesh’s Vrindavan town, which is associated with Lord Krishna, to serve food to underprivileged schoolchildren.(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday emphasised the importance of the cow in India’s tradition and culture as he listed his government’s programmes for the improvement of the health of cattle.
The Prime Minister was in Uttar Pradesh’s Vrindavan town, which is associated with Lord Krishna, to serve food to underprivileged schoolchildren to mark the three billionth meal of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. “We cannot repay the debt of cow’s milk. The cow is an important element of India’s tradition and culture,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that the cow has been a vital element of the rural economy and the BJP-led government has launched schemes like the Rashtriya Gokul Mission and created Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog.
“Cattle rearers can now get a loan of up to Rs 3 lakh as the banks have opened the avenue for them,” he said. “We have decided to create the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog in the budget and proposed Rs 500 crore under it to look after the cow and its progeny,” the Prime Minister said.
The Aayog will look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cows, interim fin cane minister Piyush Goyal had announced in the Budget earlier this month.
Modi also focussed on the health of children and the importance of vaccination in his speech.
“Just as a solid foundation is necessary for a strong building, it is just as important for children to have nutritious food and healthy childhood. The Centre has tried to form a security ring for children and food, vaccination and cleanliness are its three aspects,” he said during the event at Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir campus.
Akshaya Patra, funded by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a Bengaluru-based not-for-profit organisation, which works with the government on mid-day meal schemes. It has served meals to 300 crore children with 17.6 lakh children fed every day through the network at 15,786 government schools in 12 states.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor Ram Nayak and BJP’s Mathura lawmaker Hema Malini were among the leaders who were present at there.
Modi talked about Mission Indradhanush, a programme to increase full immunisation coverage among children and women, saying nearly 3,40,00,000 children and 90 lakh pregnant women have been covered under the scheme.
“Our target of complete vaccination is not far away given the way we have worked. Mission Indradhanush is being appreciated the world over. A noted medical journal recently picked it as one of the world’s 12 best practices,” he said.
India launched Mission Indradhanush in April 2015 to reach the estimated 38% of children not getting basic vaccines in the first year of life and covered 25.5 million children and 6.9 million pregnant women by July 2017, increasing full immunisation coverage by 6.7% (7.9% in rural areas, 3.1% in urban) over 2015. The number of vaccines was increased from seven to 12 to protect against life-threatening diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The intensified mission was launched in 2017 to provide 90% full immunisation coverage to children aged 12-23 months in the districts where immunisation was 50.5% or less in 2015-16, compared to 62% average for all of India. These included 121 districts, 17 urban areas, and an additional 52 districts in the north-eastern states.