Cow-related violence hits India’s beef and leather exports hard, affects foreign currency reserves: Report

A new report released on February 19, 2019, by international NGO Human Rights Watch shows that since the BJP took over in 2014, the growth of beef and leather exports—in which India played a key role in the international market—has nearly come to a halt, primarily because of the cow protection movement currently swelling in the country.

The report, which analyses data from the commerce and industry ministry from 2010-11 to 2017-18, stated that this has affected the country’s foreign currency reserves,

According to an article on IndiaSpend, India is the world’s largest exporter of buffalo meat, which accounts for up to $4 billion a year. But this export has drastically declined since 2014.

"In 2014-15, India registered $4.78 billion worth of buffalo beef exports--the highest since 2010--although growth declined by 26.05 percentage points from 35.93% in 2013-14 to 9.88% in 2014-15. Thereafter, the quantum of exports has hovered around $4 billion, declining 3.93% in 2016-17 and growing by a smaller 3.06% in 2017-18.”

The report observed that policies of Yogi Adityanath-led BJP state government in the country’s top meat producing state—Uttar Pradesh—have led to “further uncertainties over the future of the trade.”

India also accounts for 13% of the world’s leather.  “While export of leather and leather products grew by more than 18% in 2013-14 and 9% in 2014-15, growth declined by nearly 20 percentage points to -9.86% in 2015-16. It grew again but at a much smaller rate of 1.4% in 2017-18," said the IndiaSpend article.

Between 2010 and 2018, India reported 123 attacks of cow-related hate violence—98% of which were after PM Modi’s BJP government took power at the Centre, according to The Human Rights Watch report relies on this database, along with a few others.

The victims of such violence were Muslims (56%) and Dalits (10%), while Hindus comprised of 9% of the victims. Muslims also account for 78% of those killed in such attacks.

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