The BJP-led central government has decided to get tough with exporters sending cow meat in the garb of buffalo meat.
Exporting of cow meat is strictly banned in India.
The government has asked the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which gives permission to export buffalo meat, to set up labs at all ports to check and stop export of beef.
Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan said, “APEDA officials said there is no illegal export of cow meat as production and export are strictly monitored through a software called ‘Meat Net’ (that keeps an eye on movement of meat to designated ports while monitoring its weight). However, it has been decided to set up labs at ports to check illegal export of cow meat”.
In 2014, India became the top beef-exporting country, replacing Brazil from the number one position.
Indian exported meat worth around $4,781 million in 2014-2015 which is more than its top agricultural export item, Basmati rice ($4,518 million).
An official of APEDA said, “When we are talking of beef, the reference is mostly buffalo meat. It is the second largest product exported from the country after rice. It gives revenue of over Rs 29,000 crore [in a year] and banning it would be a big set back for the economy which no government, no matter what their political affiliation, could afford. Besides, it has no religious significance.”
He added, “The political statements coming out on the issue are misguiding people. The political leaders are themselves not aware what India is exporting.”