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Sikkim Assembly Passes ‘Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill 2017’ to Prohibit Killing of Cows

Sikkim Democratic Front passed the bill

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Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill 2017 passed
Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill 2017 passed. Pixabay
  • The Bill was passed in the State Assembly and it prohibits the killing of cows and its female calf across the state
  • In Assam, the slaughter of cows is banned
  • The people of Sikkim consider the cow as sacred and have an emotional attachment to it

New Delhi, August 31, 2017: Sikkim became the 2nd North Eastern state (after Assam) to ban Cow Slaughter, the bill was passed by Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) which is a part of the BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).  On August 29, the Bill was passed in the State Assembly and it prohibits the killing of cows and its female calf across the state.

The legislation was tabled by Somnath Poudyal, the state Animal Husbandry Minister and it was titled Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill, 2017.

As per the Sikkim Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill, 2017, a cow has been defined as a dry cow, milking cow, calf and under the Act it will be a non-bailable offense and cognizable offense. If anyone is found slaughtering a cow in Sikkim, he/she will face imprisonment of not less than 2 years (it can be extended to 5 years) and the offender will have to pay a fine of minimum Rs 10,000. A repeat offender will have to face rigorous imprisonment for at least 5 years (it can be extended to 7 years) with a fine of not less than Rs 10,000.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, during the discussion on the Bill on 29th August, said that the protection of cow has become vital due to the “need of inputs for organic farming” in Sikkim.

Chamling said, “The government wants to invoke a humane, ethical and sustainable alternative to taking care of aged and unproductive cows in gaushalas (cow sheds).” The Chief Minister said that the state government will construct 2 gaushalas for this purpose.

ALSO READ: Increase in Attacks related to Cow Vigilantism under Narendra Modi Government: Report

Until now, other North Eastern states have not banned cow slaughter. However, in Assam, the slaughter of cows is banned with one exception- if ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate is issued to them, those cows will be slaughtered at designated places. Though, they are not strict enough as cow slaughter is not a cognizable offense.

In Sikkim, the majority Nepali Hindu population doesn’t consume beef but the native population of Bhutias and Lepchas traditionally do.

Poudyal talked about how the cow is considered as a mother in India for the dairy industry, agriculture industry, and the mankind. He said, “The people of Sikkim consider the cow as sacred and have an emotional attachment to it.”

Poudyal gave some other reasons as well:

  • The dairy sector in Sikkim is the single-largest employer along with agriculture and is a major source of income for small and marginal farmers.
  • Over 80% of the rural households own dairy animals and earn supplementary income from these activities.

He added, “The government has deemed it necessary to frame a legislation to prohibit and prevent the slaughter of cows and its female progeny in the state of Sikkim.”

The new legislation provides an exception- for the cows suffering from contagious or infectious diseases. If one wants to slaughter an infected cow, a certificate is required from the competent authority. A designated place will be chosen to slaughter such a cow which will be according to the rules set in the Act. The dead body of the cow should be disposed of or buried according to the rules prescribed in the new Act.


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Next Story

Sikkim Holds Exceptionally Steady And Silent Progress In Improving The Lives Of Ordinary People

Given the track record, it may be safe to predict that Sikkim might be the first Indian state to offer solutions to the rest of India - and the world.

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Sikkim, along with Meghalaya, occupies the top two positions in the best performing region of Northeast on women's empowerment index comprising of participation of women in household decisions, ownership of land, cell phones and bank account, and instances of spousal violence. Pixabay

Everyone knows that Sikkim is a small extraordinarily picturesque mountainous state tucked away in the Himalayas in the northeast of India. That indeed it is. Even today, there are only around 650,000 people living in the state. However, much less known about Sikkim to the rest of India – and also the world – is the exceptionally steady and silent progress in improving the lives of ordinary people that the state has recorded over the past two decades.

How did Sikkim achieve this? The obvious answer is that Sikkim, like many countries in the world, has ensured that policies that promote economic opportunities go hand-in-hand with policies that ensure an equitable expansion of health, education, nutrition and essential basic social services.

Less obvious is the critical role of political leadership in ensuring improvements in the lives of people. Ensuring that the additional tax revenues from economic growth are invested in expanding human capabilities does not happen automatically. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling – the longest serving Chief Minister of any Indian state – has prioritized investments in health, education and infrastructure like no other political leader has. After all, ensuring adequate funds for the social sectors is as much a function of the funds available as it is of making it a political priority. Very few political leaders in India and elsewhere recognize the importance of investing in people as Chamling does.

What goes even more unnoticed is the role that women have played in Sikkim’s development success. Traditionally women have enjoyed greater freedom in Sikkim than in many other parts of the country. The Sikkim Human Development Report revealed that the state had the best gender parity performance among the northeastern states, with female labour force participation at 40 per cent, much higher than the national average of around 26 per cent. In recent times, with the support of the state, they have played an active role in various spheres of life.

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Traditionally women have enjoyed greater freedom in Sikkim than in many other parts of the country.Pixabay

Sikkim’s women have exercised leadership by taking advantage of the available educational and development opportunities. This is revealed by the progress on multiple indicators from NFHS 3 to NFHS 4 recorded by Sikkim. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4), 41 per cent women in the state have 10 or more years of schooling – much better than the country’s average of 36 per cent. Only 15 per cent women, age 20-24 years, were married before age of 18 years as against the national average of 27 per cent. There are only 3 per cent teenage pregnancies in the state placing Sikkim as the best among the northeastern states. The infant mortality rate in the state is 30 against national average of 34. Sikkim has improved its performance with regard to safe delivery remarkably by 43 per cent points from NFHS 3 to 97 per cent in NFHS 4, the best in northeastern states.

Sikkim, along with Meghalaya, occupies the top two positions in the best performing region of Northeast on women’s empowerment index comprising of participation of women in household decisions, ownership of land, cell phones and bank account, and instances of spousal violence.

Women in Sikkim are more empowered to take decisions than women in other parts of the country. According to NFHS-4, in 2015-16, 85 per cent women have the freedom of movement, including to market, health facility and places outside the village or community compared to national average. Almost all (95 per cent) of currently married women in Sikkim participate in household decisions as against national average of 84 per cent. Nearly 80 per cent women in the state have mobile phones for personal use against 46 per cent at the national level. Close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of women in Sikkim – as against just over half 953 per cent) of women across India – have a bank or savings account that they themselves operate. Only 3 per cent ever married women have ever experience spousal violence as against 29 percent nationally – the lowest across Indian states.

Sikkim has, however, many things to worry about. This includes creating jobs for its young people within the state, improving the quality of education, protecting residents from natural disasters, expanding infrastructure and so on. Equally worrisome is the sharp decline in total fertility rate (TFR) – 1.2 in 2015-16 – which is well below the replacement level of 2.1. This sharp decline in TFR might have also contributed to the worsening of the female-to-male ratio at birth from 984 in 205-06 to 809 in 2015-16.

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Sikkim has, however, many things to worry about. This includes creating jobs for its young people within the state, improving the quality of education, protecting residents from natural disasters, expanding infrastructure and so on. Pixabay

The reduced TFR is not good news as it may result in an age-structural transformation wherein Sikkim, like Kerala, will have to address the challenges of an aging population. This could get manifested in the short supply of workers as well as a further decline in the sex ratio. With shrinking active labour force, Sikkim’s economy could experience loss in economic output and possibly a decline in income levels. There could also be an increase in the elderly dependency ratio and morbidity levels on account of a rise in non-communicable diseases. Sikkim will have to mobilize the resources needed to extend financial support of the elderly and make provisions to address, in particular, their health care needs. It will also have to deal with the challenge of declining fertility rates.

Also Read: Millennium City Is Witnessing Rise In Illegal Trade Of Marijuana

These challenges may not come as a surprise to the political leadership in Sikkim. They should not given how well Chief Minister Chamling and the executive are connected the people. Given the track record, it may be safe to predict that Sikkim might be the first Indian state to offer solutions to the rest of India – and the world. (IANS)