The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 14-10-2020

Structural issues in Indian Agriculture

  • The farmers protests are going on in full swing and the farmers are unwilling to accept Govt demands and want complete withdrawal of the farm bills and proper assurance of the MSP.
  • For 4 years, the farmers protests have been a commonly occurring phenomenon in various states like Karnataka, Haryana, Tamil Nadu among others. The protests have seen various things come into picture, even police repression and deaths.
  • The common reasons for the occurrence of the protests have been
    • Declining agriculture incomes
    • Stagnant wages
    • Withdrawal of state support to agriculture
  • The bills have acted as an immediate cause of the protests as the farmers feel that this will dilute their rights and empower the corporate sector. With the current situation of the pandemic, the ailing economy among others have added to the woes of the farmers.
  • The author is of the belief that the farm bills, if they exist or not will not contribute to the scenario whatsoever and will be helpful it solving the structural issues of the farming sector.
  • The structural issues are as follows:
    • Lack of remunerative prices for their produce
    •  Increase in price variability
    • Unprecedented Govt policy regime
  • To add to this, the farmers are widely dependent on the agriculture markets, they want to increase mechanization and even monetize the agricultural input. Hence, they tend to increase the input prices.
  • With price variability no assurance from the MSP regime, they suffer losses. MSP, though it exists, still doesn’t work in favor of the farmers all the time. Other than commodities like rice and wheat, it doesn’t apply to others as much and they suffer losses from the same. Even in wheat we have seen negative prices and improper procurement from the Govt agencies. The market price is also severely variable and affects the farmers.
  • Another aspect we can see is that the increase in the cash requirement has made the farmers depend on institutional and non-institutional borrowers for loans, and if they don’t get enough payback for their produce they default if paying back the loans which leads to NPAs in the economy.
  • Govt at times resorts to loan waivers but that affects the exchequer in a negative way. The govt has also provided the nutrient based subsidy and this has made price of fertilizers to rise. The withdrawal of diesel subsidy aided with increase in the prices of electricity has added to the same.
  • Demonetization and the lockdown have also aided to the suffering of the farmers.
  • Hence, the Govt, more than the bills should focus on the structural issues and aim at solving them for the farmers so that things fall in place accordingly.

Nursing in India

  • The year 2020 was declared as the year of nurses and midwives. This population of nurses in the country to central for India to achieve Universal Health Coverage in the country. The nursing workforce becomes 2/3 of the health workforce in the country.
  • The ratio of nurses today is 1.7 nurses for every 1000 population and this is 43% lesser of the norms set by the WHO. It also means that India needs 2.4 million nurses to fill this gap.
  • The nursing sector suffers from a few structural issues, they are:
    • Poor training quality
    • Inequal distribution of nurses
    • Non standardized procedures
  • The nursing education, primarily is spread across and is provided through various ways like certificate course, diploma, post-graduation among others. This is mostly private and weakly regulated and hence the quality is reducing, the curriculum is outdated and there are both qualitative and quantitative lacunae that exist.
  • With regards to the career, there is lack of integration of the diploma course and other, there is no commonality. There is also a lack of job difference in those who are employed differently. Those who have completed their PG are on an equal footing with those who have done diploma in terms of pay, role among others.
  • The Indian nursing act also doesn’t provide guidelines for this, be it practice or even education. This leads to various perils and the nurses are not even covered in the Consumer Protection Act that will protect the patients from mishaps.
  • The reforms needed are as follows:
    • Proper Governance is needed when it comes to both education and practice
    • Amend the Indian Nursing Act to fix the structural issues
    • Explain the jurisdiction of Indian Nursing council and state nursing council
  • Other things also have to be fixed like incentives, pay roles, career trajectory, leadership and others.
  • The private sector has also been included in this field with proper involvement; even the NITI Ayog has aided this by batting for the same.
  • Hence, the Govt should bring in such amendments and put this into shape in the right manner.

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