Direct benefits: Soon, fertiliser subsidies in farmers’ e-wallets, not to companies

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Published: August 29, 2019 5:41:20 PM

The government is mulling e-wallet accounts and the money will be transferred before Kharif or Rabi planting season.

farmers, maharashtra farmersPrime Minister Narendra Modi aims to double farmers’ income by 2022 and has also increased minimum support price as a part of the same endeavour.

The Narendra Modi-led government is working on a plan to disburse fertiliser subsidies directly to farmers in their e-wallets, and hence moving towards full direct benefit transfer system, after recently introducing a system of disbursing fertiliser subsidy to companies at the point of sale. The subsidies will be paid directly to the farmer rather than the companies, a senior official told The Indian Express. “The idea is to give it in advance, so that the farmer doesn’t feel the burden of paying the un-subsidised maximum retail price (MRP) upfront,” the newspaper cited the person as saying.

The government is mulling e-wallet accounts and the money will be transferred before Kharif or Rabi planting season. Also, the transferred money will not be lapsable so that the unspent amount is carried forward to the next season, the official added. The government had introduced the new DBT scheme in March 2018, however, the subsidies still go to the companies and not the farmers. The companies get paid when the sale is made at the farmers’ end. The problem with the earlier system arose when subsidised fertilizers started getting used by “unscrupulous animal feed, melamine, plywood and particle board makers,” The Indian Express reported.

The government aims to solve the problem by making it mandatory for the manufacturers and importers to make an entry into ‘e-Urvarak’, which is the DBT platform of the department of fertilisers, at the moment its bagged material is dispatched from the factory or port. A similar procedure is also to be followed when the consignment is received at a warehouse. This will help the DBT system to identify discrepancies in the supply quantities between the manufacturer or importer and the retailer.

India has about 2.25 lakh fertiliser retail outlets with Point of Sales machines. All sales are done through these machines and a farmer who wants to buy urea or DAP has to show Aadhaar, voter identification or Kisan credit card number. After giving a printed receipt with details of quantities of the individual fertilisers purchased, farmer’s name and biometric authentication, and filing of details on the POS machines, the companies can claim for subsidy amount. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to double farmers’ income by 2022 and has also increased minimum support price as a part of the same endeavour.

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