In an effort to conserve the smallest cattle breed in the world, Kerala will set up a natural mating centre exclusively for Vechur cattle at Pathiramanal Island. The ‘super speciality’ Vechur cow reproduction centre is the first of its kind to come up in the State.
This rare breed, which averages 90 cm in height and 130 kg in weight, takes its name from a village of the same name in Kottayam. It was on the brink of extinction, when the Kerala Agriculture University launched a conservation programme about two decades ago. Around 4,000 heads of Vechur cattle are believed to exist today in Thrissur, Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Ernakulam, among other districts.
2. THE UNION CABINET APPROVED THE LAUNCH OF NATIONAL NUTRITION MISSION
NNM has been approved with a target to reduce malnutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year. More than 10 crore people will be benefited by this programme. All the states and districts will be covered in a phased manner; to begin with the worst affected 315 districts will be targeted this financial year.
The core idea behind the mission is to converge all the existing programmes on a single platform. For example, the Pradhan Mantri Matruvandana Yojana, which provides support to pregnant and lactating women, works under the Ministry of Women and Child Development; while Mission Indradhanush, which seeks to increase rates of complete immunisation of women and children, functions under the Ministry of Health.
The mission targets to bring down stunting in children. As per the National Family Health Survey, 38.4% of children in India have stunted growth. The mission plans to bring this down to 25% by 2022. It also aims to bring down anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% every year.
3. CONVICTS HEADING PARTIES: SC SEEKS GOVT, EC REPLY
The Supreme Court sought the responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea seeking to restrain convicted persons from forming political parties and becoming their office-bearers for the period they are disqualified under the election law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice while asking whether the court could stop a person from propagating his political views, agreed to examine the constitutional validity of section 29A of the 1951 Representation of the People Act (RPA) which deals with the power of the poll panel to register a political party.
The bench said that it would be against the freedom of speech and expression to debar a convicted person from propagating political views through a party.