Citizens' Issues
Sowing the seed for holistic farming
Since the Green Revolution in the 60s, India resorted to heavy use of chemical-based fertiliser. This is not only ruining the soil but also creating major health and environmental hazards
 
The diktat to make it mandatory for domestic fertiliser producers to 'neem-coat' at least 75 percent of their urea production would qualify as one of the most holistic decisions ever taken by any Indian government.
 
Beyond the economic calculations of a Rs.6,500-crore saving in subsidy outgo and checking pilferage, the move will have far-reaching ramifications, the biggest of it all being its impact on the soil health and environment.
 
Since the Green Revolution in the 60s, India resorted to heavy use of chemical-based fertiliser. This is not only ruining the soil but also creating major health and environmental hazards.
 
Only 30-40 percent of nitrogen from urea is absorbed by crops. The rest gets degraded into the environment as the soil fails to retain it because of certain bacteria. Scientific research has proved that some constituents of neem can inhibit this premature nitrogen release. Traditionally, Indian farmers have used neem to good effect by mixing it with urea in some form or the other.
 
The new regime will check the excessive use of fertiliser as higher retention will mean that less (around 20 percent) neem-coated urea is required as compared to ordinary urea. Neem-coated urea will also work as insecticide. It is estimated that the shift will boost the yield by about 20 percent as crop will get sufficient supply of nitrogen, which is vital for the development of plants.
 
It's a win-win proposition. Interestingly, previous governments had adopted a diametrically opposite stance. Instead of encouraging it, there was a cap of 35 percent on the production of neem-coated urea against the wishes of the industry. No logic, apart from cartelisation and vested calculations, justifies such a blinkered policy.
 
The Narendra Modi government has shown a holistic vision by not only removing the cap but also making it mandatory to neem-coat at least 75 percent of total production. It's expected that by next year, the entire domestic production will be neem-coated.
 
More than the specifics, the move signals a vision towards organic farming, which is the need of the hour. Excessive use of chemicals is not only killing the soil and adversely affecting food security but also slow-poisoning the population. Because of chemical farming, food production of the country has become fatally contaminated.
 
This is responsible for the alarming rise in incidences of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Food which is supposed to be the source of sustenance and promotes wellness has today become the main source of illness.
 
This is the reason behind spiritual gurus like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar putting their intense focus on chemical-free farming. The Art of Living, for example, organises innovative agricultural workshops aimed at reviving and promoting ancient agricultural techniques. It has pioneered the concept of 'Zero Budget Natural Farming' which promotes indigenous techniques that ensure higher yields with lesser investment.
 
Like neem, there are numerous other indigenous and proven options for natural farming and chemical-free farming. The farmers who have turned to indigenous knowledge of natural farming are not only witnessing tremendous improvement in soil fertility but also prospering economically. Higher income is supplemented by lesser investment, thus helping them beat the debt trap of high-interest loans.
 
That's why this low-profile move of the government is a powerful manure to propel the overall health of the nation!

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COMMENTS

KAIALSH SINGHAL

2 years ago

pl take crop of vetegable pea (matar) which will generate nitrogen in soil and helps to recap the fertility position of land

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

The author has made very valid arguments for the use of neem coated urea.
The animal population is the basic source of homegrown organic fertiliser at least cost and every farmer - not excluding small - has one or two milch cattle at the lower end, a backyard poultry and some who love meat rear even goats. Right from cow's urine to excreta of all the animals provide enough nitrogenous fertiliser that renders the use of chemical fertiliser less and this makes up for the ever increasing labour costs in farming.

Earlier, shepherds used to take their sheep for penning in dry spells. These nomads significantly contributed to organic farming. This practice mostly prevalent in the south has been waning lately. Both in the interest of organic farming and also in the interest of spare income for the shepherds.

Saradha scam: CBI conducts raids, Bengal minister denied bail
The CBI on Thursday raided seven locations in West Bengal and Odisha of the Mangaldeep Land Promoters Ltd. for raising public money through illegal schemes, while a court rejected the bail plea of state minister Madan Mitra who was arrested for his alleged complicity in the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam.
 
Mangaldeep is one of the 44 companies including the Saradha Group, being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following orders of the Supreme Court.
 
"Raids were conducted in six places in West Bengal and one in Bhadrak in Odisha... are being searched. The company directors include Ranjit Chakraborty, Mansi Chakraborty and others," a CBI officer said.
 
Earlier this month, the CBI had searched many locations of Royal International Shares, a Kolkata-based company, on similar allegations.
 
A city court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of Transport Minister Mitra, who was arrested by the CBI in December 2014 for his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam.
 
Pressing for bail before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Haradhan Mukherjee, Mitra's counsel argued that the minister has been behind bars for over four months and there was no need for his further detention as the CBI has submitted chargesheets in the case.
 
The CBI counsel opposed the bail contending that he was a very influential person and investigation would be hampered if he was released on bail.
 
The court, after hearing both the parties, rejected the bail plea of Mitra, who will remain in judicial custody till May 7.

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Nifty, Bank Nifty, Sensex show no momentum – Thursday closing report

Nifty has to close above 8,465 and Bank Nifty above 18,300 for the first signs that the current downtrend is temporarily over 

 

We had mentioned in Wednesday’s closing report that NSE’s CNX Nifty may move higher and a close above 8,500 will take it further higher. The 50-stock index opened Thursday in the positive and within the first hour of trading reached above the 8,500 level. However, it could not sustain this level and moved lower to close in the red.
 
S&P BSE Sensex opened at 27,977 while Nifty opened at 8,478. Sensex moved lower to the level of 27,621 after hitting a high of 28,088 and closed at 27,735 (down 155 points or 0.56%). Nifty moved from the high of 8,505 to the level of 8,362 and closed at 8,399 (down 31 points or 0.37%). Bank Nifty witnessed a volatile session with no specific direction. It opened at 18,350 and moved from the high of 18,434 to the low of 18,144 and closed at 18,246 (up 2 points or 0.01%). NSE recorded a volume of 65.85 crore shares. India VIX rose 7.50% to close at 18.5000.
 
The latest clarification from the finance ministry means that foreign portfolio investors domiciled in countries that have signed double taxation avoidance treaties with India will not have to pay minimum alternate tax (MAT). Singapore and Mauritius have already signed double taxation avoidance treaties with India. Many foreign investors had received notices requesting their MAT calculations for financial year 2011-2012 and earlier years, according to reports. In the Union Budget 2015-16 presented in parliament on 28 February 2015, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that capital gains on sale of shares by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) will not be subject to the provisions of the MAT from 1 April 2015.
 
The finance minister was quoted as saying that there was a broad consensus that states are in support of a nationwide goods and services tax (GST).
 
The Indian government said that it has received a few complaints regarding "cartelisation" in bidding during the recent coal block auctions and investigations are being carried out in the matter.
 
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will raise Rs28,000 crore in the current fiscal by issuing tax-free bonds.
 
The March quarter of this year has seen a 50% decline in new residential project launches across the country compared to the same quarter last year, according to property advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield. The quarter saw a total of 24,700 apartments being launched, the lowest in the last two years. 
 
Coming back to Indian stock market, Yes Bank (6.99%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE.  The bank on Wednesday posted an improved result of March 2015 quarter. Its board of directors have approved the proposal to seek final approval of shareholders for increase in the limit for the FII / FPI of up to 74% of the paid up share capital from the existing limit of 49% of the paid up share capital.
 
Gitanjali Gems (4.93%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Its shareholding pattern as on 31 March 2015 showed that its FIIs holding reduced from 9.07% as on 31 December 2014 to 5.40% now, while retail shareholding increased from 50.69% to 54.38% for the relevant period.
 
Tata Steel (5%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. it was recently in news that it is among other looking to buy Electrosteel Steel Ltd. In response to this news, the company has clarified to BSE that at present there is nothing to disclose, but, as and when, need arises it will make the required disclosures.
 
Sun Pharma (2.55%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock.
 
On Wednesday, US indices closed in the green.
 
Asian indices showed mixed performance. Taiwan Weighted (1.92%) was the top gainer while NZSE 50 (0.62%) was the top loser.
 
In China, the HSBC/Markit 'flash' purchasing manager’s index slipped to 49.2 in April 2015 from 49.6 in March 2015. China factory PMI contracted to 1-year low in April
 
European indices were trading mostly in red. US Futures were trading lower.
 
Eurozone business activity growth pulled back from March's 11-month high, according to Markit flash PMI survey data for April. The slowdown reflected weaker rates of expansion in France and Germany. 
 
The Markit Eurozone PMI fell from 54 in March to 53.5 in April. The seasonally adjusted Markit Flash France Composite Output Index recorded 50.2, down from 51.5 in March. 
 
Markit Flash Germany Composite Output Index falling from March's eight-month high of 55.4 to 54.2 in April, latest data showed today.
 

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