In Uttar Pradesh, where the ban on cow slaughter is taken very seriously, what’s illegal for humans may well prove a godsend to tackle the growing menace of stray bulls: sex selection. The State government plans to reduce the numbers of stray bulls by making sure that they are never born.The government on Monday approved a ‘Sex Sorted Semen’ scheme, under which chances of cows delivering a female calf are as high as 90-95%. After successfully testing the scheme as a pilot project in three districts (Etawah, Lakhimpur Kheri and Barabanki), the government has decided to launch it in all the 75 districts of U.P. The State Cabinet has approved the project.Shrikant Sharma, U.P. government spokesperson and Cabinet Minister, said that in the pilot project, of the 581 calves born, 522 were female. “A success rate of around 90%,” he said. A senior government official said the scheme would be implemented on indigenous breeds, such as Sahiwal, Gir, Haryanvi, Tharparkar and Gangatiri. To avail of the scheme, cattle-breeders would have to pay ₹300 per conception, while in the drought-prone region of Bundelkhand, this levy would only be ₹100. Common practiceThe practice of ‘Amnapratha’, or the letting loose of unproductive cattle, is a common practice in Bundelkhand.The official said the aim of the project was two-fold: to increase the productivity of cows and to decrease the number of unproductive male cattle. “It will provide a permanent solution to the stray cattle menace in the next 2-4 years,” he said. With a 90% fall in the number of male calves, “there will be lesser number of unproductive animals, which will bring down the number of stray and destitute cattle,” said a government note. The government added that the fall in the number of male cattle will bring down the damage to crops and the number of road accidents caused by the animals. A production unit for the project will come up at Babugarh in Hapur district. Production is expected to start by March, said the official. A firm has been selected through global e-tendering to execute the project.Earlier this year, State Animal Husbandry Minister S.P. Singh Baghel had claimed that the number of stray cattle heads had increased only because the government had, since March 2017, strictly implemented anti-cow slaughter laws and shut illegal slaughterhouses.