Indian scientists government to withdraw research on benefits of cow dung, urine

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 21, 2020, 11.14 PM(IST) Written By: Praphul Singh

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

According to a release by the government, initial studies showed the effective development of an antidandruff poly-herbal hair conditioner based on cow urine.

The government of India recently invited proposals for research to determine the benefits of cow dung and urine under its program called, SUTRA PIC, Scientific Utilisation through Research Augmentation-Prime. 

The government through its research wants to materialise on the idea of developing prime-products from "indigenous cows-based utility items" like mosquito repellent, floor cleaner, personal care products like toothpaste, hair-oil, shampoos, conditioners, etc. 

According to a release by the government, initial studies showed the effective development of an antidandruff poly-herbal hair conditioner based on cow urine.

The research has been planned with the support of Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR)- Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayush); Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Project proposals are invited from scientists, academicians from research institutions, academics, grassroots organisations, etc to carry out the research and development (R&D) work, the release said.

However, the idea has not gone down well among the scientific community of the country. 

More than 290 scientists and academicians have written to the government and expressed their displeasure with the scheme. 

An online appeal addressed to the department of science and technology (DST), said, "We, the concerned scientists and science communicators of this country, are extremely perturbed by the recent call for research proposals under the SUTRA-PIC India Program of SEED, DST. This call lists five thematic areas and each of them has its own set of problems." 

The scientists went on to say that the present "call for proposals" (CFP) is drafted unscientifically from start to finish.

The appeal suggests that the "document is full of statements prefaced by 'it is believed’' Science cannot presume the validity of beliefs, however, commonly held. Validity has to be put to test, which is absent in the CFP."

"Scientific research on cow products cannot presume the efficacies presumed in the CFP. To begin a project with such presumptions is prima facie unscientific. We regret to note that such a flawed document issued by the DST along with several other bodies of the Government of India will severely undermine the credibility of the Indian scientific establishment," read the online appeal. 

The scientists also pointed out the difficulties the scientific community has been facing by institutes in the country. 

"Several important research projects are getting derailed due to lack of adequate funds from the government. Several young researchers, including research scholars, INSPIRE fellows, UGC-FRP fellows, etc. are getting their monthly fellowships inordinately delayed. In such a dismal funding situation, DST actively canvassing proposals under such a dubious scheme is even more infuriating."