The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is planning to replicate the Girinka programme in his country as he accelerates efforts to put the economy on the right footing.
The premier disclosed this last week during a rally at Mathura in the State of Uttar Pradesh, in Northern India where he outlined his achievements in the first 100 days of his second term.
Modi, 68, was elected for the second term in May to lead India for another five years after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed victory in parliament.
According to India’s The Telegraph newspaper, Modi told the rally that the rural economy could not be imagined without cows but that the very mention of words such as “cow” and “Om” raises the hackles of some people.
“There is a country called Rwanda in Africa. I had gone there. In Rwanda, there is a unique programme, where the government gives cows to villages with the condition that the first female calf born to the cow will be taken back and given to those who do not have a cow,” the newspaper quoted him.
The Indian Prime Minister was in Rwanda in July last year for a two-day state visit where he donated 200 cows to residents of Rweru model village in Bugesera District as part of Girinka (one-Cow-per-Poor-Family) programme which he described as the perfect tool for social bonding in communities across the country.
Initiated in 2006, the programme is one of Rwanda’s home-grown solutions designed to combat socio-economic challenges.
“In the life of rural India, animal husbandry is very valuable. Can a family in a village survive without it? But I don’t know why some people get an electric shock on hearing the word,” Modi reportedly said. “This way a chain operates. And their endeavour is that in Rwanda every household should have a cow (and engage in) milk production and animal rearing, which form the base of the economy. I have myself seen how a network to earn a livelihood through a cow has been established there.”
He then proceeded to discuss a presumably pressing economic issue in a country that has been rattled by an unrelenting flow of grim financial data.
Over 350, 000 cows have since been donated to vulnerable Rwandans under Girinka programme since the scheme was initiated by President Paul Kagame thirteen years ago.