Urea subsidy cut 17%; allocation for NPK subsidy reduced 35%
Amid acute shortage of fertilisers in India, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman February 1, 2022, reduced subsidy on urea and nutrient-based (NPK) fertilisers. The move is expected to adversely hit the ailing farm sector.
The Rs 63,222.32 crore allocation for urea subsidy in her Budget for 2022-23 was 17 per cent lower than the revised estimates (RE) for 2021-22. Another Rs 42,000 crore was allocated to subsidise NPK fertilisers; that was 35 per cent below the RE.
The Centre has been reducing spending on fertiliser subsidies. The actual government spending on fertilisers in 2020-21 was Rs 127,921.74 crore. It was brought down to Rs 79,529.68 crore in the 2021-22 Union budget. This was revised to Rs 140,122.32 crore amid the farm crisis. In the current budget, it has been brought down by almost 25 per cent to Rs 105,222.32 crore.
The cuts come at a time when record fertilisers prices internationally have affceted regular supply of fertiliser products to Indian farmers. The Narendra Modi government has maintained that there is no shortage in the market, but an analysis of the Integrated Fertilizer Management System (iFMS) data from the Department of Fertilizer, Government of India for October 2021 shows a severe lack of fertiliser products, as per an article by the Economic and Political Weekly.
The country has reported several farmer protests over the shortage. Last October, farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district had to delay sowing due to a fertiliser shortage. Five farmers in Bundelkhand region, which includes 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, also committed suicide due to the shortage. Fertiliser subsidy is a political issue in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections.
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.