Greenvissage Explains - September 2023

Greenvissage explains, How is the PM-Pranam scheme revolutionizing agriculture in India?

In the Union Budget 2023–24, the Indian government unveiled a game-changing initiative called the Prime Minister’s Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM PRANAM). The scheme aims to promote the balanced use of chemical and alternative fertilizers while generating awareness of regenerative agriculture (RA). Regenerative agriculture is a sustainable food production system that prioritizes soil health, environmental protection, and farm profitability. One of the primary objectives of the scheme is to reduce the excessive use of chemical fertilizers. India has been grappling with imbalanced fertilizer use, with an overemphasis on nitrogenous fertilizers and inadequate use of phosphorus and potassium. India’s recommended fertilizer ratio of 4:2:1 for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) is often ignored. The actual ratio in many cases deviates significantly, leading to nutrient deficiencies, soil degradation, and reduced crop yields. This skewed ratio has led to nutrient deficiencies, soil degradation, and lower crop yields.

Meanwhile, the subsidy burden on chemical fertilizers has been a significant concern for the Indian government. In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, it was projected to reach a staggering INR 2.25 lakh crore. The complex subsidy system involves numerous intermediaries, resulting in inefficiencies and discouraging the adoption of organic or bio-fertilizers. PM PRANAM aims to alleviate this financial burden by incentivizing farmers to adopt alternative fertilizers, ultimately reducing the need for extensive chemical fertilizer subsidies. India’s overreliance on urea, a nitrogenous fertilizer, has detrimental effects on soil health, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. It also distorts the fertilizer market. India heavily depends on imported phosphorus and potassium fertilizers, leaving the country vulnerable to global price fluctuations and supply disruptions. Thus, with climate change posing a growing threat to agriculture, PM PRANAM underscores the importance of making Indian farming practices more resilient by embracing regenerative agriculture principles, such as soil health preservation and biodiversity protection. The scheme incentivizes states that demonstrate a commitment to reducing chemical fertilizer use. States that consume fewer chemical fertilizers than their three-year average will receive 50% of the subsidy savings as a grant.

In conclusion, by prioritizing balanced fertilizer use and regenerative agriculture, PM Pranam is not only enhancing food security but also safeguarding its environment for future generations. With the active participation of farmers and key stakeholders, this initiative has the potential to usher in a new era of sustainable and resilient agriculture in the country.

Greenvissage Explains, Why is India’s workforce ageing, despite boasting the largest youth population?

India, often celebrated for its burgeoning youth population, is grappling with an unexpected and concerning trend – its workforce is ageing rapidly. This shift in demographics, as revealed by an analysis of data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), carries significant implications for the nation’s economy and employment landscape. To grasp the evolving workforce landscape, the analysis categorizes the population into three distinct age groups: Aged 15-29 years: The share of this youth age group in the total workforce has dropped from 25% in 2016-17 to a mere 17% in the financial year 2022-23; Aged 30-44 years: Individuals in this age group have also witnessed a decline, slipping from 38% to 33% during the same period; and Aged 45 years and older: In stark contrast, this age category’s share has surged significantly, growing from 37% to 49%. While the youth population has expanded, with an increase of 2.64 crore individuals (from 35.49 crore in 2016-17 to 38.13 crore in 2022-23), the number of employed individuals in this group has plummeted by a staggering 3.24 crore. Consequently, the employment rate for this age group has nosedived from 29% to a mere 19% over seven years. Though the most pronounced decline in employment rates is observed among the youth, the ageing workforce trend extends to other age groups, albeit to a lesser degree. Notably, the oldest age category (45 years and above) has experienced a relatively smaller decline in employment rates and has even seen an increase in the absolute number of employed individuals.

The primary cause of dwindling youth employment is the dearth of sufficient job opportunities. The rapid growth of the youth population has not been met with a proportional increase in available jobs, resulting in fierce competition for limited positions. A disconnect between the skills possessed by the youth and those demanded by the job market can lead to higher unemployment rates. The education system might not be adequately preparing young individuals for the evolving job landscape, leading to underemployment or unemployment. Meanwhile, a significant portion of India’s workforce operates in the informal sector, which often lacks stable employment opportunities and social security benefits. Youth entering the job market may find it challenging to secure stable and formal employment, leading to skill underutilization. Despite rising educational attainment among the youth, there may be a disconnect between the skills acquired through education and those required by the job market. Aspirations for higher-level jobs might lead to a situation where youth are willing to wait for suitable positions, contributing to a decline in youth employment. A nation’s prosperity hinges on its ability to engage and empower its youth, ensuring they have access to meaningful and productive employment opportunities. Policymakers need to consider measures that discourage early retirement and incentivize older individuals to remain in the workforce. This might involve flexible retirement age, reduced working hours, and financial incentives. Companies should also adopt age-inclusive workplace policies that cater to the needs of older workers, providing ergonomic facilities, health support, and opportunities for upskilling.

Greenvissage explains, Why are Doctors protesting the new guidelines of the National Medical Council?

In a recent development in the medical field, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has introduced new regulations regarding the professional conduct of registered medical practitioners, raising concerns and sparking protests within the medical community. The regulations, introduced in 2023, have led to widespread debate and opposition among doctors across the country. The primary point of contention revolves around the directive that mandates doctors to prescribe generic medicines instead of brand-name drugs. This move by the NMC aims to reduce healthcare costs and increase accessibility to essential medications for patients. However, it has met with fierce resistance from medical professionals, who argue that this regulation could compromise the quality and efficacy of treatment.

Doctors’ concerns primarily revolve around the potential compromise of patient care. The push for generic drugs, while cost-effective, may not always provide the same level of assurance in terms of quality and consistency as brand-name medications. Doctors argue that patients may experience adverse effects or inadequate treatment outcomes due to the lack of uniformity in generic drug manufacturing. They are also concerned that the absence of brand-specific prescriptions might hinder patients from obtaining essential medications in case of adverse reactions or allergies to specific formulations. The controversy has further deepened with doctors expressing apprehensions about the financial implications of prescribing generic drugs. Many doctors argue that brand-name medications often come with incentives and discounts, allowing them to provide medicines at lower costs to their patients. The shift to generics could result in increased out-of-pocket expenses for patients, leading to potential inequities in healthcare access. Another significant aspect of the opposition stems from the autonomy doctors feel is being eroded by the NMC’s directive. Doctors assert that the ability to choose the most suitable medication for their patients based on individual medical histories and needs is an essential aspect of their practice. The one-size-fits-all approach, as mandated by the regulation, is seen as an infringement on their professional judgment.

The government, on the other hand, defends its stance by emphasizing the need to reduce healthcare costs, particularly in a country with a vast population and significant healthcare disparities. They argue that promoting generic drugs will not only make healthcare more affordable but also reduce the influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical practices, thereby ensuring more impartial prescriptions. The controversy surrounding the NMC’s new regulations has led to protests and strikes by doctors across the country. The medical community is seeking a reconsideration of the directive, urging the NMC to engage in a dialogue and address their concerns. As the debate continues, the impact of these regulations on patient care, healthcare costs, and the autonomy of medical practitioners remains at the forefront of discussions.

Greenvissage explains, What is the GST “Mera Bill, Mera Adhikar” Reward Scheme?

In a significant move aimed at empowering taxpayers and enhancing transparency in Goods and Services Tax (GST) invoicing, the government has launched the “Mera Bill Mera Adhikar” scheme. This initiative aims to simplify the process of verifying and rectifying GST invoices while offering participants a chance to win up to INR 1 crore in prize draws.  Under this scheme, taxpayers are encouraged to actively participate in the verification of their GST invoices. The objective is to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the invoices submitted by businesses, ultimately reducing tax evasion and errors in the GST system. Taxpayers can utilize the online portal provided by the government to scrutinize their invoices and report any discrepancies. One of the key features of the “Mera Bill Mera Adhikar” scheme is the opportunity for taxpayers to win substantial prizes through a prize draw. The government has introduced this incentive to encourage taxpayers to actively engage with the scheme. Participants stand a chance to win up to INR 1 crore, making it a potentially lucrative endeavour for those who take the initiative to review and verify their invoices.

The process of participating in the scheme is relatively straightforward. Taxpayers can access the online portal and log in using their GST credentials. Once logged in, they can view their invoices and cross-verify the details with their records. If any discrepancies or inaccuracies are identified, taxpayers can report them through the portal. This proactive approach not only ensures the accuracy of GST invoicing but also contributes to a more transparent and accountable tax system. The “Mera Bill Mera Adhikar” scheme has generated considerable interest among taxpayers and business owners alike. It is seen as a potential game-changer in the realm of GST invoicing, offering the dual benefit of enhanced accuracy and the chance to win substantial prizes. As the government continues to promote digitalization and transparency in tax-related processes, this initiative aligns with its broader objectives.