India’s "obsession" with cows and the benefits from its waste is once again in the spotlight with the ministry of science and technology under the Narendra Modi government inviting research proposals under its programme ‘Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation Prime Products from Indigenous Cows’.
As Indian cows are believed to have unique qualities, their "waste" is also thought to have a healing effect.
Therefore, the government has asked scientists to do a research on uniqueness of pure indigenous Indian cows, including products for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, as well as development of products such as mosquito repellent, floor cleaner, hair oil, shampoo etc.
According to the notification of the programme, which was floated on Friday, certain investigations have showed the effective development of an anti-dandruff poly-herbal hair conditioner based on cow urine.
It also mentions the traditional Indian village system of wiping the floor daily with a mixture of water and fresh cow dung so that flies and other insects did not settle there.
“Various products are available in the market but there is no scientific research on the same. Procedures and standard for the development of utility products based on indigenous cows should be undertaken,” the notification says.
It also states that ‘cowpathy’ is a treatment based on products obtained from indigenous cow as used in Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest healing sciences.
“Cow urine and its distillate are being used by Ayurveda practitioners throughout the country. However, the scientific information is lacking regarding active principle, batch to batch variation, seasonal variations, urine collection time and its effect, effect of fodder and differences/similarities among the urine of other cattle,” it states.
The project seems to be an effort to bring back the importance of indigenous cows as their population has been falling over the years.
The 2012 census showed that the Indian cattle population fell by 9% compared with exotic cattle breeds whose population increased by 20%.