The majority of India’s population resides in rural areas making the uplift of the rural sector extremely important for the development of the nation. To bridge the divide between urban and rural India, rural development has been the focus of various government schemes and policies since Independence.
One of the ways is giving enough importance to the cow-based rural economy.
- The cow-based rural economy and the use of five key products from cow called Panchgavya — milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine — is a part of daily life in the Subcontinent.
- The use of Panchgavya in food, medicine, agriculture, etc. is already in practice in various parts of rural India.
Benefits of these Products
- Cow milk has a prominent place in the diet of people, from an infant to an elderly person.
- Worldwide, substantial research has been done highlighting the medicinal significance of A2 milk produced by indigenous cows, which prevents disorders like obesity, arthritis, type-1 diabetes among children, autism, etc.
- Curd and buttermilk have been found useful in many gastrointestinal disorders and are recommended as a food practice in Ayurveda.
- Similarly, ghee from indigenous cows has been used since time immemorial for its benefits. This makes milk,curd and ghee an integral part of the food system but their properties are yet to be subjected to technical validation.
- TwoUS patents on cow urine (No. 6896907 and 6410059) have been granted for its medicinal properties, particularly as a bio-enhancer and as an antibiotic, antifungal and anticancer agent.
- These milestones highlight the potential role of cow urine in treatment of bacterial infections and cancer, and demonstrate that cow urine can enhance the efficacy and potency of other drugs.
- The world is now shifting towards organic agriculture. Improving soil fertility through micro-flora from Panchgavya products has been practiced for many years.
- The three strains – Bacillus lentimorbus NBRI0725, Bacillus subtilis NBRI1205, and Bacillus lentimorbus NBRI3009 — isolated from Sahiwal cow milk have the ability to control phyto-pathogenic fungi and promote plant growth under field conditions, increase tolerance for abiotic stresses and solubilise phosphate under abiotic stress conditions.
- It is traditionally believed that cow dung has antiseptic, anti-radioactive and anti-thermal properties.
- Only about 40 per cent of the dung from cows is used as fuel in rural areas. Traditionally, cow-dung cakes are used for food preparation and while burning these cakes, the temperature never rises beyond a certain point; ensuring overheating does not destroy the nutrients in the food. The use of cow-dung in biogas as a non-fossil fuel is being considered for vehicles and cooking.
Research in the field
- The Centre for Rural Development and Technology (CRDT) at IIT-Delhi is a nodal centre for rural development for the last 37 years to take the benefits of scientific research to rural areas.
- The team at IIT Delhi identified five key topics of research: uniqueness of indigenous cows, Panchgavya in agriculture, medicine and health, food and nutrition and for utilities.
- Research proposals were invited from specialised organisations like IITs, ICAR, DBT, ICMR, CSIR, AAYUSH, NDRI, universities and some leading voluntary organisations.
- A thorough internal and external evaluation of these proposals were made based on technical merit.
- Apart from IIT, elsewhere too, scientists were conducting preliminary research on the subject.
- The central idea is to upgrade the valuable, technically validated knowledge from the sphere of “traditional knowledge” and put them in synchronisation with mainstream scientific discourse.
- Traditional knowledge is sometimes looked down upon in India. Citing some latest research evidence how traditional knowledge is of use in the era requiring Sustainable Development.
- PM has reiterated a number of times in the global fora that Indian way of living is an example of “Sustainable way of living” which world needs to adopt. What are some unique Indian things worth emulated by the world?