The central government intends to launch a scheme called – PM Pranam – to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by encouraging the states, Indian Express has learned.
The proposed scheme for PM Augmentation of Alternative Nutrients for Agriculture Management Plan aims to reduce the subsidy burden on chemical fertilizers, which is estimated to reach Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23 – 39 per cent more than last year’s figure 1.62 lakh crore Rs.
This assumes significance in view of the sharp increase in the overall fertilizer requirement in the country during the last five years.
It is learned that top officials of the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, who mooted the idea of PM-PRANAM, shared the details of the proposed scheme with state government officials during the National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Abhiyan held on September 7. did. The ministry has also sought their suggestions on the features of the proposed scheme.
Sources said the ministry has started inter-ministerial discussions on the proposed plan and the draft will be finalized after taking into account the views of the departments concerned.
A source indicated that the scheme would not have a separate budget and would be financed through “saving of existing fertilizer subsidies” under schemes run by the Department of Fertilizers.
According to sources, 50 percent of the subsidy savings will be given as a grant to the saving state.
Sources also informed that 70 per cent of the grant provided under the scheme can be used for asset creation related to technological adoption of alternative fertilizers and alternative fertilizer production units at village, block and district level. The remaining 30 per cent grant money can be used to reward and encourage farmers, Panchayats, Farmer Producer Organizations and Self Help Groups who are involved in fertilizer use reduction and creating awareness.
Giving the example of calculation in reducing the use of chemical fertiliser, a source said that the increase or decrease in urea in a state in a year would be compared with the average consumption of urea during the last three years. For this purpose, the data available on the IFMS (Integrated Fertilizer Management System) dashboard of the Ministry of Fertilizers will be used, the source said.
Official records show that the actual expenditure on fertilizer subsidy in 2020-21 was 1.27 lakh crore. In the Union Budget 2021-22, the government budgeted an amount of Rs 79,530 crore, which increased to Rs 1.40 lakh crore in the Revised Estimate (RE). However, the final figure for fertilizer subsidy reached Rs 1.62 lakh crore in 2021-22.
In the current financial year (2022-23), the government has allocated Rs 1.05 lakh crore. The Fertilizer Minister has said that this year the figure of fertilizer subsidy may cross Rs 2.25 lakh crore.
As per a written reply given to Lok Sabha By Bhagwant KhubaThe Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, on August 5, stated the total requirement of four fertilizers – Urea, DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate), MOP (Murate of Potash), NPKS (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) – in the country in 2021-22. The percentage increased to 640.27 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) from 528.86 Lakh Metric Tonnes in 2017-18.
The maximum growth – 25.44 per cent – has been recorded in the requirement of DAP. It increased from 98.77 LMT in 2017-18 to 123.9 LMT in 2021-22. Urea, the most used chemical fertilizer in the country, registered a growth of 19.64 per cent in the last five years – from 298 LMT in 2017-18 to 356.53 in 2021-22.
The move is in line with the government’s focus on promoting balanced use of fertilizers or alternative fertilizers over the years.
To check leakage in fertilizer subsidy, the Center had introduced the Direct Benefit Transfer system in fertilizers from October 2016. Under this system, 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades is released to the fertilizer companies on the basis of actual sales. Retailers to beneficiaries. In addition, the government had included new nutrients like nano urea and “bio-stimulants” in the Fertilizer Control Order-1985 (FCO). Apart from this, initiatives like Soil Health Card and Neem Coated Urea have also been taken.
On 21 December, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya had informed the Lok Sabha that the government “encourages balanced use of fertilizers” with organic fertilizers and organic fertilizers.