Fertiliser subsidy: Govt looks to roll out 2nd phase of direct benefit transfer

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Published: June 6, 2019 1:57:49 PM

In October 2017, the first phase of fertiliser DBT was rolled out, under which subsidy is being transferred to companies after checking retail sales data captured through the Point of Sale (PoS) machines.

The transfer of fertiliser subsidy directly into farmers' bank accounts was to be taken up in the second phase after taking inputs from Niti Aayog.The transfer of fertiliser subsidy directly into farmers’ bank accounts was to be taken up in the second phase after taking inputs from Niti Aayog.

The government is seriously thinking of giving fertiliser subsidy directly to farmers under the second phase of implementation of direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme, a senior fertiliser ministry official said Thursday.

In October 2017, the first phase of fertiliser DBT was rolled out, under which subsidy is being transferred to companies after checking retail sales data captured through the Point of Sale (PoS) machines.

The transfer of fertiliser subsidy directly into farmers’ bank accounts was to be taken up in the second phase after taking inputs from Niti Aayog.

The government bears over Rs 70,000 crore annually as fertiliser subsidy to provide cheaper farm nutrient to farmers.

“We want to try giving fertiliser subsidy directly into farmers’ bank accounts. Now, there is a thinking in this line. Now, we are ready for the phase two implementation. When and how — that is under discussion,” the official told PTI.

Besides, the government is planning to bring some improvement in the existing fertiliser DBT by allowing retailers to use desktop or laptop along with PoS machines for smooth operation, he said.

“Now, the DBT platform is based on a PoS machine. We are coming out with desktop or laptop version. Since PoS machine has small screen, retailers sometimes face operational issues. In addition to PoS, retailers can have desktop or laptop.”

There are 2.25 lakh fertiliser retailers in the country. The PoS machines will not be scrapped. Providing laptop or desktop will facilitate ease of doing business, the official added.

Initially, there were hiccups in implementing the DBT, but over the time those issues have been resolved, he said adding that the government now wants to focus on improving upon capturing the strength of the platform.

The government paid a fertiliser subsidy of Rs 74,000 crore during 2018-19 fiscal. About Rs 78,000 crore has been budgeted for paying fertiliser subsidy in the current 2019-20 fiscal.

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