To curb the use of chemical fertilizers, the government will approve PM PRANAM

The Indian Express has learned that the central government intends to launch a scheme – called PM PRANAM – to incentivize states to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

The proposed scheme, short for Prime Minister’s Campaign for Alternative Nutrition for Agriculture Management Yojana, also aims to reduce the subsidy burden on chemical fertilizers, which is estimated to reach Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23 – a 39 percent increase over last year. 1.62 lakh crores.

This is significant in view of the sharp increase in the overall fertilizer requirement in the country over the last five years.

It is learned that top officials of the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, which conceptualized PM-PRANAM, shared details of the proposed scheme with state government officials during the National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Abhiyan held on September 7. The ministry has also sought their advice on the features of the proposed project, it is learned.

Sources said the ministry has initiated inter-ministerial discussions on the proposed project and its draft will be finalized after incorporating the views of the concerned departments.

Official records show that the actual expenditure on fertilizer subsidy was Rs 1.27 lakh crore in 2020-21. (reveal)

A source indicated that the scheme would have no separate budget and would be funded through “existing fertilizer subsidy savings” under schemes run by the fertilizer department.

According to sources, 50 per cent of the subsidy savings will be given as grant to the savings state.

Sources also said that 70 per cent of the grant provided under the scheme could be used for resource creation related to technical adoption of alternative fertilizers and alternative fertilizer production units at village, block and district levels. The remaining 30 percent grant money can be used to reward and encourage farmers, panchayats, farmer producer organizations and self-help groups who are involved in reducing fertilizer use and creating awareness.

Giving an example of the calculation for reducing the use of chemical fertilizers, a source said that the increase or decrease in urea in one year in a state would be compared to the average consumption of urea in the last three years. For this purpose, data available on iFMS (Integrated Fertilizers Management System), a fertilizer ministry dashboard, will be used, the source said.

Official records show that the actual expenditure on fertilizer subsidy was Rs 1.27 lakh crore in 2020-21. In the Union Budget 2021-22, the government budgeted Rs 79,530 crore, an increase of Rs 1.40 lakh crore in the Revised Estimates (RE). However, the final figure for fertilizer subsidy in 2021-22 touched Rs 1.62 lakh crore.

In the current financial year (2022-23), the government has allocated Rs 1.05 lakh crore. The Fertilizer Minister said that the subsidy amount for fertilizers could cross Rs 2.25 lakh crore this year.

According to a written reply given in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Bhagwant Khuba on August 5, a total of four fertilizers are required – urea, DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), MOP (murate of potash). , NPKS (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium)- increased by 21 per cent to 640.27 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) in the country in 2021-22, from 528.86 lakh metric tonnes in 2017-18.

The highest increase – 25.44 per cent – ​​was recorded in DAP requirement. It has increased from 98.77 LMT in 2017-18 to 123.9 LMT in 2021-22. Urea, the most widely used chemical fertilizer in the country, recorded 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 past few years.

To plug leakages in fertilizer subsidy, the Center introduced Direct Benefit Transfer System in Fertilizer from October 2016. Under this system, fertilizer companies are given 100 percent subsidy on different fertilizer grades based on actual sales. Beneficiaries are retailers. Also, the government has included new nutrients like nano urea and “bio-stimulants” in the Fertilizer Control Order-1985 (FCO). Besides this, initiatives like Soil Health Card, Neem Coated Urea have also been taken.

On December 21, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Lok Sabha that the government “encourages balanced use of fertilizers” in combination with organic fertilizers and biofertilizers.

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