While attacking the UPA government ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi fleshed out his public speeches by alleging the Congress-led Centre promoted a “pink revolution” in subsiding slaughterhouses and promoting meat exports through tax breaks.
However, once in power, the new prime minister and his BJP-led government chose pragmatism over politics, or so it seems from the official data on meat exports showing a spurt in the first eight months of this fiscal.
India sold meat and meat products worth $3.3 billion during April-November 2014 compared to $2.8 billion in the same period the previous year, registering a 16.74% jump. Buffalo meat constituted about 97% of the total livestock products exported from the country as the export of cow meat is banned in India.
“This country wants a Green Revolution but those at the Centre want a Pink Revolution,” Modi said at a Bihar rally in April 2014. “When animals are slaughtered, the colour of their flesh is pink.”
Modi’s theme drew criticism from the Congress that accused him of communalising animal husbandry.
“The (UPA) government is not willing to provide subsidy to a person who keeps a cow but if a person wants to set up a slaughterhouse, he gets assistance,” he said at another pre-parliamentary poll meeting.
HT tried to contact commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman for comment but could not reach her despite multiple telephone calls and text messages. Four BJP spokespersons this newspaper got in touch with refused to react on the issue.
“The trend since April in this segment (meat exports) is indicating an increase. Exporters have quoted a sudden increase in demand,” a senior commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Analysts say as the Prime Minister is trying to portray India as an advanced, progressive country ready for global business and political cooperation, the government and his party must come across as tolerant and modern.
“The demand has been increasing for quite some time but exports have suddenly grown in the last four months. This is primarily due to better quality at a competitive price, which exporters from India are quoting,” said SS Dhingra, spokesperson of Amroon Foods Pvt Ltd, a UP-based leading meat exporter.
Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi faced flak in September after alleging illegal slaughter and export of animals in the country was funding terrorist activities.
“While in Opposition the Prime Minister is at the forefront of slamming the purported pink revolution and when in government he is at the forefront of promoting it as evidenced by the rise in export figures,” said senior Congress leader Manish Tewari. “This nation needs to know where the PM and his government stand on it. If they were so against it, why has it not been banned? It once again exposes their duplicity and sanctimoniousness.”