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Strategies for transforming the nation through statistics

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Strategies for transforming the nation through statistics

Altaf Hussain Haji

As we know that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held on September 25, 2015 adopted the document titled “Transforming our World with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are (1) End poverty (2) Zero hunger (3) Good health and wellbeing (4) Quality education (5) Gender equality (6) Clean Water and Sanitation (7) Affordable and clean energy (8) Decent work and economic growth (9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure (10) Reduced inequalities (11) Sustainable cities and communities (12) Responsible consumption and production (13) Climate change (14) Life below water (15) Life on land (16) Peace, Justice and Strong institutions and (17) Partnerships for the goals.

India has provided strong endorsement to the SDGs, giving a considerable fillip to agenda 2030. It is widely agreed that India will play a leading role in determining the relative success or failure of the SDGs, as it is the second-most populous country in the world. The sustainable development goals is a real agenda to change the world by achieving targets by 2030.

As one person wrote: “It follows that an acceleration in the rate of change will result in an increasing need for reorganisation or restructuring. The reorganisation is usually feared because it means disturbance of the status quo, a threat to people’s vested interests in their jobs, and an upset to established ways of doing things while restructured is somehow to first step to involve in the change which seems to be implementing by sustainable Development goals.

It must be considered that there is nothing difficult to carry out, nor in doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

Subsequent SDG agenda have confirmed the importance of the concern about the change in the world. Today, more and more administrators deal with new government regulations, new products, growth, increased competition, technological developments, and a changing workforce by implementing SGDs. In response, most government setup, Centre as well as state governments find that they must undertake moderate organizational changes. The same has happened in the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation, government of India recently issued an order to streamline and strengthen with respect to the Indian official statistics system and to bring in more synergy by integrating its administrative function within the ministry setup. The National Statistical Office (NSO) is the result of the change by existing CSO and NSSO.  The name of CSO and NSSO skip for the smooth functioning of the statistical system in India. No doubt this change misunderstanding the public and lack of trust happened among peoples. There is a need for strategies to handle the situation for new renames and fame of the National Statistics Office (NSO).

As we see in the field of collection of data of various socio-economic surveys of NSO that overall population also want to change even they do not understand its implications and perceive that it might with a good cost.

On the other hand, a few organisations can be characterised as having a high level of trust between citizens, employees and managers or administrators that easily for misunderstandings to develop when change is introduced. Unless managers or administrators surface the misunderstandings and clarify them rapidly, they can lead to resistance to easily catch change initiators by surprise. It has found that many managers have quite strong feelings about participation—sometimes positive and sometimes negative. That is, some managers or administrators feel, that there should always be participation during change efforts, while others feel this is virtually always a mistake. Both attitudes can create problems for a manager or administrator which results hampered the new way of working in the setup.

When change initiators believe they do not have all the information they need to design and implement a change, or when they need the wholehearted commitment of others to do so, involving others makes very good sense. Considerable research has demonstrated that, in general, participation leads to commitment, not merely compliance.    In some instances, commitment is needed for the change to be a success. Nevertheless, the participation process does have its drawbacks. Not only can it lead to a poor solution if the process is not carefully managed, but also it can be enormously time-consuming. When the change must be made immediately, it can take simply too long to involve others.

In approaching an organizational or any other change situation, managers explicitly or implicitly make strategic choices regarding the speed of the effort, the amount of preplanning, the involvement of others, and the relative emphasis they will give to different approaches. Successful change efforts seem to be those where these choices are internally consistent and fit some key situational variables.

The strategic options available to managers can be usefully thought of as existing on a continuum. At one end of the continuum, the change strategy calls for very rapid implementation, a clear plan of action, and little involvement of others. This type of strategy mows over any resistance and, at the extreme, would result in a fait accompli. At the other end of the continuum, the strategy would call for a much slower change process, a less clear plan, and involvement on the part of many people other than the change initiators.

As we know that the government of India is strongly committed to agenda 2030 including the full swing of Sustainable Development Goals. India is already taking significant strides towards the attainment of SDGs, India’s National Development Agenda outlines the measures of the government by taking issues like poverty, sustainable growth, health, nutrition, gender equality and quality education among several others.  Here the statistics play an important role to know the issues. This is another strategy to know the situation. The question is here the issue that arises during the implementation of sustainable development goals. Maybe these issues are linked with sustainable development goals and targets with National statistical indicators but fail to report achievement. There are so many indicators that determine where the goals stand for and what steps or strategies should be taken to achieve targets of the prescribed goals. Further, there are so many indicators that have no statistics which results in the weakness of the targets to implement and will not able to achieve the goals well in the time frame year 2030. The government was already given the responsibility to the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) in developing the National Indicator Framework (NIF) which will help in monitoring the progress of the SDGs and associated targets. Statistical indicators of National Indicator Frameworks (NIF) will be the backbone of monitoring of SDGs at the national and state level and will scientifically measure the outcomes of the policies to achieve the targets under different SDGs. The National Statistical Office (NSO) of ministry is the nodal agency for planning and facilitating the integrated development of the statistical system in the country, and to lay down norms & standards in the field of official statistics, evolving concepts, definitions, classification and methodologies of data collection, processing, and release of results etc.

The following some brief strategies may be taken into consideration to transferring the world by implementing Sustainable Development goals

  • It should be first and foremost to make available data or statistics to planners and policymakers of every indicator
  • Try to reduce time-lag in the dissemination of data or statistics so that better and timely result will available for better implementation of SDGs
  • Improving the quality of data or statistics so that targets of SDGs will be achieved in the time frame by 2030.
  • Taking-up new data sets in the emerging areas to cover every indicator of SGDs so that those can meet the aspirations of stakeholders
  • The coordination with central and state statistical organizations may improve to maintain the quality of indicator and get better quality data from stakeholders

Further developing appropriate strategies to create awareness about the importance of data as well as to improve “visibility” to enhance the image of both the statistical personnel and the statistical Organizations

A policy on developing new data sets should be evolved. It should include the need for the generation of new data sets, irrespective of whether it will be done by NSO or other Departments of other ministries.

Altaf Hussain Haji, ISS, is Deputy Director General National Statistical Office, Shimla. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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AgriBiz

Chemical Pesticides and Environment Sustainability

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Chemical Pesticides and Environment Sustainability

Need for alternative pest control methods, organic farming

Raheeba Tun Nisa

Naveed Hamid

Chemical pesticides are frequently used to protect plants, animals, livestock, and crops from pests and diseases. In India, estimated annual production losses due to pests are as high as US$ 36 billion. The use of pesticides has significantly increased and improved global food production.

Pesticides are used by farmers, consumers, and businesses to stop the spread of disease and crop destruction. In order to safeguard the world’s food supply, pesticides assist the agricultural community in managing exotic weeds, diseases, and insects.

All types of pesticides used in the country, including those imported from other nations, are governed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States. When seeking to market their products, pesticide manufacturers must comply with extremely strict regulations set forth by the EPA. The amount of pesticide residue reported on food products ingested by humans or animals, such as livestock feed, is regulated by the EPA.

However, there is still a flaw in the system that causes environmental chaos, and we are unable to stop the devastation of our ecosystem.

Impact of pesticides on environment and SDG goals

Pesticides however might have a negative effect on both aquatic and terrestrial species. Their extended and repeated use causes bioaccumulation. It is possible for pesticides to spread from the application site to distant surroundings and non-target creatures. Even at low concentrations, water contaminated with pesticides poses a major threat to the environment. Pesticide residues can reach humans through contaminated food and water, non-target drift, or application.

Exposure to pesticides can have a variety of negative neurological health impacts, including impaired coordination, memory, and vision. The immune system is also harmed by prolonged pesticide exposure. An increase in neurological conditions, including brain tumours, has been attributed to excessive pesticide use in Kashmir.

Different soil microorganisms are necessary for various plant functions yet using pesticides may limit the soil microflora. We know a lot of beneficial microorganisms are present on the plant surface (Phyllosphere) as well as in the root zone (rhizosphere), indiscriminate use of pesticide drastically decrease their population.

Numerous herbicides have been shown to be harmful to mycorrhizal fungi, increase plant susceptibility to diseases, impair seed quality, and have indirect effects on bird populations. SDG target by 2020 is to minimize the negative effects on human health and the environment by achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals and their wastes throughout their life cycles, in compliance with accepted international frameworks, and greatly reducing their release to air, water, and soil.

Pesticides must be used in accordance with the standards established by national and international law, with better safety precautions and less harmful formulations. Farmers should be made aware of the need to avoid using harmful pesticides.

Strategies to minimize the usage of chemicals

In the future, it will be possible to combine the use of chemical pesticides with natural remedies to eradicate pests and insects in a more long-lasting manner. The best alternatives to pesticides are agronomical approaches, biological control, organic farming, integrated pest management, and the use of resistant varieties.

Current disease management approaches rely primarily on synthetic pesticides, but growing awareness of these chemicals’ detrimental effects on the environment and human health has prompted us to seek out more effective, less or non-toxic alternatives.

One such alternative is biological control of plant diseases that could be a viable alternative to expensive chemical fungitoxicants, which not only harm the environment but also allow for the development of resistant pathogenic strains. The biocontrol agents either soil-derived or epiphytes or endophytes (bioagents acquired from phyllosphere) are having the innate potential of suppressing the diseases.

It may be effective to use endophytes and epiphytes that are strongly antagonistic to this pathogen to tackle the disease. In the future, biological control on aerial plant surfaces will be successful not only because of its efficiency but also because of its low cost compared to traditional pesticides and the absence of harmful side effects from the organisms used, such as mammalian toxicity.

Other advantages of biological control over chemical control might include the less long-term environmental impact from the use of persistent pesticides and the lack of chemical residues on edible components of the crop. Several commercial microorganism-based products have been created and are beginning to gain popularity in the market. However, due to biocontrol action’s diversity and inconsistency, large-scale usage is still limited. In some circumstances, this might be due to the biocontrol agents’ susceptibility to environmental impacts.

There are several ways to overcome biocontrol limitations and increase its performance. One such way is a combination of biocontrol agents with fungicides. Compatibility of any bioagent with fungicides is a key to developing an efficient disease management module vis-à-vis disease control, resistance management, environmental safety and economy.

Need to boost and promote natural farming startups

From 2010-2011, the organic market in India witnessed considerable growth. According to a TechSci Research report, ‘India Organic Food Market By Product Type, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 – 2021’, India’s organic food market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 25% during 2016-2021. With the rising environmental and health problems, more and more people are becoming cautious of the harmful effects of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other artificial chemicals used for food production. There is growing consensus among people about the benefits of using Organic products. This unique rise in demand has resulted in creating an opportunity for many to come up with great and novel ideas in the shape of startups with unique business models, aimed at solving this modern-day crisis.

The authors are associated with SKUAST-K, Shalimar 

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Opinion

Let’s Revive the Organic way of Healing 

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Let’s Revive the Organic way of Healing 

FALAK JAN 

NAVEED HAMID

Let’s Revive the Organic way of Healing Let’s Revive the Organic way of Healing 

The Himalayas are identified as one of the global biodiversity hotspots, with high species richness due to ecological, phytogeographic, and evolutionary factors. There are around 18,440 plant species (25.3 % of which are indigenous), 1748 medicinal plant species, and 675 wild edible species. For populations living in mountainous locations, collecting and, more lately, marketing MAPs has offered a significant source of income. The long-term viability of such plants is inextricably linked to future Himalayan potential. Plants are still used for primary healthcare in many cultures around the world, and medicinal herbs have long been used in traditional healthcare systems. With recent developments in plant sciences, the usage of plant-based health products has increased dramatically in both developing and industrialized countries. Around the world, 70–80% of people use medicinal plants as their primary health care. The demand for medical plant-based raw materials is increasing at a pace of 15 to 25% per year and is expected to exceed $5 trillion by 2050. The medicinal plant trade in India is estimated to be worth around $1 billion per year. The World Health Organization tried to identify all medical plants used worldwide and identified over 20,000 species. Kashmir Himalayas has a diverse range of medicinal plants due to topographical diversity.

JAMMU & KASHMIR AS HERBAL DRUG STORE

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), an Indian Himalayan state, is rich in biodiversity with a rich medicinal flora. The Kashmir valley referred to as Terrestrial Paradise has abundant biodiversity that adorns Kashmir’s beauty. The region is endowed with a rich diversity of medicinal plants due to its phyto-geographical location within the North-Western Himalayas. The scientific documentation of medicinal flora diversity, distribution, and traditional usage could be crucial in the conservation and long-term utilization of these valuable plant resources in this Himalayan state. Some of the medicinal plants that are widely found in Jammu and Kashmir include Aconitum heterophyllum, Berberis aristata, Artemesia absinthium, Atropa acuminata, Trillium govanianum, Saussurea costus, Picrorhiza kurroa,  Withania somnifera, Acorus calamus; among the most significant aromatic herbs are Levandula officinalis, Rosmarinus officinalis, Organium vulgare, Podophyllum hexandrum, Hippophae rhamnoides, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, and Arnebia benthamii. Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) conservation and production are becoming increasingly important. In India, MAPs are collected/cultivated in a variety of climate and soil conditions, ranging from the seacoast to the high Himalayas. The preservation and development of medicinal and aromatic plants is a top priority in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh, which represent temperate, alpine, and cold dry region zones.The medicinal plant market is still developing and is largely unregulated. Local residents in the region collect and trade medicinal herbs in order to meet their basic requirements for livelihood. According to local medicinal plant collectors and traders, demand for particular species such as Aconitum heterophyllum, Angelica glauca, Podophyllum hexandrum, Ephedra gerardiana, and Saussurea costus is quite high, but supply is low due to rare populations and lack of cultivation.

MEDICINAL & AROMATIC PLANTS SIGNIFICANCE: NATURE’S MEDICINE

Medicinal plants are rapidly becoming valuable bio-resource. Without a doubt, their effectiveness in managing human ailments while causing no negative effects has earned a widespread reputation for these useful species.  Given the high cost and side effects of modern medicine, traditional knowledge and practices of medicinal plants against various diseases, such as asthma, diarrhoea, throat infections, rheumatism, ulcer, poliomyelitis, abdominal pain, body swellings, cough, burns, wounds, allergies, general weakness, etc., are extremely important. Some of the medicinal plants, including Rheum species, Artemisia species, Ephedra species, and Salvia species, have been demonstrated in recent scientific studies to be useful in treating COVID-19.

DEVELOPMENTAL STRATEGIES FOR THE HERBAL MEDICINE INDUSTRY

The growth of sustainable medicinal herbs offers a great chance to capitalize on the growing market while guaranteeing a consistent supply for local communities. Industry growth strategy for herbal medicine over 100 million hectares of wastelands are currently idle, depriving the income generating options while also posing a major threat to the ecosystem and environment. These kinds of lands can be used to grow medicinal herbs, which are in high demand. Establishing contact with bulk consumers can help to boost commercial medical herb cultivation. The following actions are recommended for a successful promotion of the herbal medicine business in Jammu & Kashmir.

  • Plant species with therapeutic characteristics need to be identified and herbariums should be established.
  • Assessment of demand & supply status relating to medicinal plants.
  • Standardization of propagation and cultivation procedures in order to produce superior grade herbal materials.
  • Validation for the use of numerous medicinal herbs in the treatment of various ailments, as well as standardization of protocols and documentation.
  • Assisting collectors and growers to store, transport and market their herbal products.
  • Research to develop effective herbal medications to treat diverse ailments, particularly newly emerging diseases, should be strengthened.
  • Herbal medicine should be taught as a core subject in medical schools that deal with various systems.
  • Popularization of diverse herbal medications through workshops, training, social marketing, and public awareness.
  • Establishing primary processing, grading, marketing, and other facilities in coordination with local stakeholders and organizations.
  • Traditional healers and Ayurveda practitioners should be supported through knowledge sharing, networking, the provision of superior quality germplasm, and connections with farmers for raw material supply.

The demand for medicinal herbs has risen dramatically in recent years on both national and international markets. Traditional medicines have seen a return in popularity in recent decades, both as alternative cures and in the pharmaceutical industry. There seems to be a lack of attention in current research to maintain the sustainable use of these valuable plant species. Plant species that only grow in the wild and are not cultivated, need to be conserved. The long-term protection and sustainable use of their source species must be prioritized if plant elements to promote human health are to be made available in the future.

 

Writers are research scholars from SKUAST Kashmir

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Industry

J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry

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J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry

Dhaar Mehak M

Pazeer Kataria

J&K’s Dwindling Corrugation Industry! The corrugation industry is a sub-category of the paper industry. It essentially deals with the manufacturing of customised boxes made from the amalgamation of cardboard, kraft paper, adhesives, stitching, wiring etc. Corrugation boxes are an improvisation over ordinary cardboard boxes. These boxes are stronger, durable, environment friendly, cost-effective, sustainable, recyclable and easy to customise. The corrugation industry has revolutionised the modern-day world because of its environment-friendly nature. The main output produced by this industry is (customised) packaging material for multiple purposes across various intermediate and final uses.

India’s corrugation market is estimated to be worth Rs 30,000 crore. Over time, this sector has grown steadily and sustainably. Given the enormous size of the Indian economy, there has always been a high demand for the goods and services supplied by this sector. It has consistently been a highly popular business among potential entrepreneurs. The Covid-19 pandemic has, however, caused this industry to experience a recent nationwide decline. The cost of all raw materials, including the fuel for running the machinery and the cost of transportation, has skyrocketed. The sector has been further restricted by the limited import of less expensive raw materials and the increased tax burden on businesses.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the corrugation industry is directly linked to the horticulture sector. Cardboard boxes have replaced traditional wooden boxes for apple packaging to a large extent. Though the corrugation industry of J&K produces boxes for beverages, bakery, medicines, yoghurt, processed foods etc. apart from horticulture the main demand comes from the latter itself. As such the corrugation industry has been a very popular venture amongst the potential entrepreneurs in J&K. However, the post-pandemic world hasn’t been the same for the corrugators of J&K. The corrugation industry in the region has been running in losses since the beginning of the pandemic.

All of a sudden it was decided that the GST on the corrugated boxes would be increased by 6 percentage points. Initially, the purchase sale tax was 12% and so was the sales tax. After this decision, while the purchase tax is the same, the sales tax has increased to 18%. There is a direct 6% dead weight loss created, the brunt of which is born by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the rates of the boxes have tended to remain constant declining the profit of the manufacturers by a big slash.

The first blow came with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic right in China. Kraft paper, one of the essential raw materials, is imported into India from China. As soon as the pandemic was declared the imports were halted and the basic raw material shortage was felt. Steadily this had to be substituted with the indigenous craft paper which increased the cost of production. Other imported substitutes coming from the rest of the world also got expensive and the production cost of the industry rose immediately. This sudden nature of the shock gave the least time to the corrugators of J&K to come to terms with the outcomes.

Another major shock came with the updated taxation decision from the ministry of finance. All of a sudden it was decided that the GST on the corrugated boxes would be increased by 6 percentage points. Initially, the purchase sale tax was 12% and so was the sales tax. After this decision, while the purchase tax is the same, the sales tax has increased to 18%. There is a direct 6% dead weight loss created, the brunt of which is born by the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the rates of the boxes have tended to remain constant declining the profit of the manufacturers by a big slash.

The most important source of demand for corrugated boxes however comes from the horticulture sector in the region. And here the major concern is the competition given to the locally manufactured corrugation boxes by the imported ones coming from the neighbouring states. There are two main reasons behind this competition. One of the reasons quoted by the local manufacturers is that the business houses outside J&K are multi-project ventures, keeping the cost of production very low for the producers. As such, in the local market, these boxes are sold at a cheaper rate than those coming from our local producers. The second reason comes from the consumers who claim that the boxes coming from outside are not only superior in quality but are affordable too. The joint impact of both these reasons is a decline faced by this otherwise brimming and quoted ‘high potential’ industry in the region.

Another important local source of demand for the corrugation industry of J&K is the beverage industry located across the region. Corrugation boxes have been a preferred choice for these units. However, the growing prices of these boxes have forced this industry to look for alternatives and substitutes. After a brief research, it turns out that the beverage industry is substituting corrugation boxes with plastic and polythene packaging. At the same time posing a long-run threat to the fragile environment of the region!

 In Kashmir, the corrugation business has a direct and indirect impact on about 20,000 households. These people in a majority of the cases are not affiliated with any other economic activity. A loss to this industry will impact the members across all these households. In light of these events and factual realities, there arise some critical policy implications. For starters, the local government must restrain the unquestionable import of corrugation boxes from the rest of the country. Given that the horticulture sector is at the back of this industry, it is important that the two grow mutually and with an interdependence that is conjointly and positively reinforcing the overall growth. Immediate intervention and curtailment of the taxes is the most pressing pre-requisite for the sustenance and then eventual growth of this sector. From a longer-run perspective, the use of corrugation products instead of plastic and polythene is J&K is the basic need to keep up with the fragile ecosystem that the region is bestowed with.

The authors work with the Department of Economics, Islamic University of Science & Technology & can be reached at [email protected] 

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