Enthused by its success from pilot programme in 16 districts, the Centre is now planning to implement the direct benefit transfer scheme in the fertiliser sector to provide Rs 75,000 crore annual subsidy to farmers.
“The government is working on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to provide fertiliser subsidy directly to all the farmers in the country. In 16 districts, our pilot project is going on. We have received positive reports so far,” Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a National Fertiliser Ltd’s (NFL) event where a dividend cheque of around Rs 53 crore was handed over to the government.
“Till next Kharif season, we will compile all the data and analyse. The government will prepare plans for implementing the DBT in fertiliser sector, especially urea subsidy,” Kumar said, adding the annual fertiliser subsidy bill is around Rs 75,000 crore.
The minister said the implementation of DBT is challenging and difficult as 50 per cent of the farmers are not land owners.
“But at the same time, we need fertiliser security for the country’s food security. Fertiliser security means that fertilisers should be available and affordable,” he said.
In this year’s Budget, the government had announced to introduce direct benefit transfer of fertiliser subsidy to farmers on pilot basis in few districts of the country.
To make country self-sufficient in fertiliser, Kumar said the government is reviving all closed urea plants across the country.
That apart, he said the National Fertiliser Ltd (NFL) will set up new plants for manufacturing of potash and bentonite sulphur in Gujarat and Panipat respectively by end of next year.
“We are considering setting up special economic zone for fertiliser sector. We are exploring setting up of such zones in Iran, Alegria and Myanmar where there is availability of natural gas,” Kumar said, adding that this will reduce the country’s dependence on imports.
NFL’s Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Mishra said the total investment for bentonite sulphur and MoP plants is about Rs 60 crore.
The company posted a highest net profit of Rs 197.09 crore in last fiscal. It also produced highest ever urea production of 38 lakh tonnes with 118% capacity utilisation.