Why a few changes in cattle trade rules won’t be enough to ensure peace | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Why a few changes in cattle trade rules won’t be enough to ensure peace

At a time, when jobs are scarce, the social and economic impact of such regulations will be a huge liability for the government.

editorials Updated: Jul 05, 2017 13:15 IST
The central government has received representations from slaughter houses and allied industries in the wake of the new cattle trade rules.
The central government has received representations from slaughter houses and allied industries in the wake of the new cattle trade rules.(Hindustan Times )

After several cold-blooded murders of cattle traders, a controversial ban on cattle slaughter and protests in some states against the beef ban, the Centre has decided to act, albeit belatedly. Environment minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said the controversial rules prohibiting the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter will be changed to clear “doubts and misinterpretations”. The minister also debunked allegations that the government was hell-bent on changing the eating habits of people, as claimed by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the rules were notified on May 23. However, all these changes or improvements will not happen overnight since the government is keen to wait for the June 15 Supreme Court hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the legality of the notification. The Centre has been on the backfoot since the rules were notified, given the opposition from within and outside. Left-ruled Kerala and Congress-ruled Meghalaya assemblies have passed resolutions saying they will not implement the regulations. Other northeastern states are also unhappy with the rules. Several BJP leaders in Meghalaya resigned from the party over the new rules though the party said they were about to be thrown out for indiscipline.

What prompted this sudden change of heart? The ministry has received representations from slaughter houses and allied industries, which fear the new rules can kill their business. Analysts say that the ban will not just cripple the beef market but also allied industries. The export market is expected to face disruption with a massive loss of employment. India’s leather industry, which accounts for 13% of the world market, will also be badly hit. At a time, when jobs are scarce, the social and economic impact of such regulations will be a huge liability for the government.

Chopping and changing the cattle trade rules may help the government win a few points in the perception battle but finally on the ground, it has to crack the whip on those who are misusing their proximity to the party and state governments to attack, kill and terrorise innocent people involved in cattle trade and those opposing the beef ban.