The government has set up a task force to examine feasibility of implementation of direct benefit transfer (DBT) of fertiliser subsidies to farmers, Union Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said today.
The task force will submit the report in the next three months, he added.
Addressing a conference, Kumar said the government has launched a pilot project in 14 districts for providing fertiliser subsidy directly to farmers during the ongoing kharif season.
The pilot will also be conducted in another 14 districts during the rabi season. Based on the outcome of these pilots, the government will decide on rolling out DBT across India.
“We are implementing DBT for 14 districts during the kharif season. We will do pilot in another 14 districts in the rabi season. Then I will get an idea. After the pilot study, we will decide,” Kumar said.
Talking about the difficulty in implementing DBT in fertiliser sector, the Minister said, “the consumption of fertiliser is not uniform. It varies from state to state and from crop to crop. That has to be captured and for that subsidy is to be given.”
Kumar said a task force has been set up to study the feasibility of implementation of DBT in fertiliser and the report will be submitted in the next three months.
The government has budgeted about Rs 70,000 crore for fertiliser subsidy in this fiscal. The subsidy arrears are likely to be around Rs 30,000 crore at the end of this fiscal.
In urea, the government has fixed maximum retail price (MRP) at Rs 5,360 per tonne and the difference between the cost of production and the MRP is being paid to manufacturers in the form of subsidy.
In case of non-urea fertilisers, the government announces a fixed subsidy every year and MRP is determined by the manufacturers.
Kumar also announced that the government will set up 2,000 centres for marketing of all agri-inputs at one place in the interest of farmers.
Last month, the Minister had asked the state governments to extend cooperation in rolling out DBT scheme.