Use of Cow cess for epidemics | Facing cash issues, the state government through a recent amendment to the Rajasthan Stamp (Amendment) Act 2020 legalised the surcharge imposed on stamp duty for cow protection be used for purposes of mitigating natural or man-made calamities like drought, flood, epidemic and public health exigencies.
The state government promulgated the Rajasthan Stamp (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to amend the Rajasthan Stamp Act, 1998. While Section 3B of the Act had the phrase “surcharge for conservation and propagation of cow and its progeny,” it has now been amended to include “and for mitigating natural or man-made calamities”.
However, facing protest from goshalas, the state government later decided to earmark 50% of the cow cess collected from stamp duty for conservation of cows and gaushalas.
Rajasthan is the first in the country to have a separate gopalan department. The government had imposed 10% surcharge on registration of property (raised to 20%) to find money for the department. Later in 2018, a 20 per cent cess was imposed on liquor for cow protection (ref).
The state had 2,727 registered gaushalas in the state with about 9.5 lakh cows. The government provides financial assistance of Rs 20 per day for calves less than three years old and Rs 40 per day to grown cows in gaushalas. However, this grant is given only to goshalas which have more than 200 cows and have a registration of more than two years. Thus about 35% of the gaushalas are not reeving the funds.
The state government had announced a nandi shala in every gram panchayats to find a solution to stray cattle menace. But the project has not progressed much (ref).