India will soon get a new law for animal welfare in place of the existing law protecting them against cruelty.
"We will have a new comprehensive law for animal welfare prescribing steep penalties for cruelty against the animals," Environment and Forest minister Jairam Ramesh said.
The existing penalty for cruelty against animals is only R50 prescribed in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the only private member's bill accepted by the government in history of independent India.
In the proposed law, the environment ministry is likely to recommend measures for authorities and animal keepers to ensure their welfare.
A few such regulation have already been intended through draft notification of rules on Breeding of dogs and fishes and regulations for pet shops.
Ramesh agreed with animal rights activist and Lok Sabha member Maneka Gandhi that the existing penalty was not adequate and had not acted as deterrent against cruelty to animals.
To check this, the ministry will also be sending an advisory to state governments to prevent animal sacrifice during Dusherra festival.
"We will definitely sent an advisory asking states to ban animal sacrifice as done in some states," the minister said in Lok Sabha.
Six states in India have banned animal sacrifice during festivals.
Ramesh also brushed aside claims by RJD leader Lalu Prasad that animal festivals like those in Bihar was promoting business of animals. "It is matter of shame the way elephants are treated and traded in these festivals," Ramesh said.