Government’s April 1 gift to farmers

Monday 15 March 2010

imageOn february 18, the Centre announced nutrient-based subsidies (NBS) for fertilizers as promised in last year’s budget. Now individual nutrients in the fertilizer like nitrogen will be subsidized, rather than the end product. The new system will be effective from April 1.

The government will control only urea’s retail price; its price has been hiked from Rs 4,830 to Rs 5,310 per tonne from April 1.
“The nbs regime is expected to promote balanced fertilization and increase agricultural productivity,” said information and broadcasting minister, Ambika Soni. An inter-ministerial committee under the secretary of the fertilizer ministry will finalize the subsidy on each nutrient—nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and sulphur. Fertilizers containing these nutrients will get additional per tonne subsidy if they include secondary and micro-nutrients.

The fertilizer industry is happy. The new policy gives incentives to manufacturers to fortify fertilizers with micro-nutrients to reduce their deficiencies, said U S Awasthi, managing director of Indian Farmers’ Fertlizer Cooperative Limited. But G V Ramajaneyulu of the non-profit Centre for Sustainable Agriculture in Hyderabad said NBS would only decrease the price of complex fertilizers which are more expensive and would be used only by big farmers. “The rates of main fertilizers like dap will increase,” he said. Small and medium farmers and those who want to use bio-fertilizers won’t benefit.

“Subsidies should be given to farmers, not the industry,” said Yudhveer Singh of Bharatiya Kisan Union. The policy is meaningless for two-thirds of India nfarmers who are in rainfed areas.

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top