Atmanirbhar Bharat’s first boost to be made in China; 5 new urea plants to make India self-reliant

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July 13, 2020 11:25 AM

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to push for Atmanirbhar Bharat, the country’s first boost towards self-reliance may be achieved in urea.

India has commissioned four new plants before 2021 as it looks to reduce its dependence on imports from China.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to push for Atmanirbhar Bharat, the country’s first boost towards self-reliance may be achieved in urea. India has commissioned four new plants before 2021 as it looks to reduce its dependence on imports from China. In fact, one more urea plant, which will take the total tally to five, is expected in 2023, The Indian Express reported. However, the lump-sum turnkey execution contract has been awarded to Chinese state-owned firm Wuhuan Engineering. In 2019-20, India’s total urea imports from China stood at over 2.9 million tonnes (MT), worth $854.56 million. This was out of a total 11 million tonnes of urea imported by the country in the same period.

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“The five new units are of 1.27 MT per annum production capacity each. Once they, and three others currently shut or in the process of getting gas, are functional, we will become Atmanirbhar in urea by 2023-24,” a top government official told the national daily. Of the five plants which are slated by 2023, the first is expected to be ready by October at Ramagundam in Telangana, just before the next rabi crop season. The Telangana plant is a revival project of a state-owned unit which was closed, similar to the others at Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Sindri (Jharkhand), Barauni (Bihar) and Talcher (Odisha). Other than the Telangana unit, the rest of the four projects are being set up by PSU Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan, which is a joint venture of Coal India Ltd (CIL), NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and FCIL.

“They should be fully operational before rabi 2021. Ramagundam was supposed to start from this kharif (June) and the other three by 2021 kharif. But the construction disruptions from Covid-19 have pushed these back by about six months,” The Indian Express cited an official as saying. Meanwhile, critics of Atmanirbhar Bharat have said that Make-in-India urea will be more expensive than imports. However, according to a counter argument, making northern and eastern hinterland home to the next Green Revolution will bring down the price differential.

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