Cow-based Rural Economy:
India is an agricultural country. The economic contribution of agriculture to India's GDP is steadily declining with the country's broad-based economic growth. Still, agriculture is demographically the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic fabric of India.
The majority of country’s population resides in rural areas making the uplift of the rural sector extremely important for the development of the nation. Although, 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. Cow-based rural economy means the use of five key products from cow called Panchgavya — milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine. These have been a part of daily life in the Indian Subcontinent in the form of food, medicine, agriculture, etc.
Cow Milk Benefits:
- Cow milk has a prominent place in the diet of people, from an infant to an elderly person. It is compared to the mother’s milk for the quality for kids.
- A2 milk produced by indigenous cows prevents disorders like obesity, arthritis, type-1 diabetes among children, autism, etc. Substantial research has been done worldwide highlighting such medicinal significance of A2 milk produced by indigenous cows.
What is A2 Milk: A2 is cow’s milk that contains A2 type of beta casein protein rather than more common a1 protein found in common milk. It is characterised by a distinct golden colour.
- A2 milk has 12% more protein, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium.
- By drinking A2 milk one is no longer exposed to BCM-7 found in A1 milk which is linked to neurological impairment, type-1 diabetes, impaired immune response, autoimmune disease and heart disease.
- A2 milk has good quality fat.
- A2 milk is easily digestible.
Other Panchgavya Benefits:
- 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.
- Two US 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.
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.