After successfully implementing fertiliser subsidy through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in 14 states and Union Territories (UTs), the Centre plans to roll out it in five more states by the year-end to take the tally upto 19. The five states include Punjab, Haryana, Chhatisgarh, Madya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
According to a senior official of the Department of Fertiliser, DBT has been rolled out and working smoothly in 14 states. By December, five more states namely – Punjab, Haryana, Chhatisgarh, Madya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh will be added to the list.
The states and UTs where the DBT facility has been rolled out are: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttarkhand, Goa, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Andamana and Nicobar, Delhi and Puducherry.
For the remaining 12 states such as Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, the DBT scheme will be rolled out in January 2018.
“The difficult phase is over and the software is working better now, the official said, adding that glitches in implementation are being resolved on a daily basis. NITI Aayog-appointed MicroSave, an NGO, is evaluating the implementation,” Dharam Pal, Joint Secretary, Department of Fertiliser said.
Stating that the government is implementing the phase-I of the fertiliser DBT at present, Pal said, “Under this, we are transferring subsidy to companies after checking retail sales data captured through the Point of Sale (PoS) machines.”
The transfer of fertiliser subsidy directly into farmers’ bank account will be taken up in the second phase once Niti Aayog suggests an appropriate model, he said, adding that DBT being implemented for fertiliser subsidy payments is slightly different from that in case of cooking gas, he added.
For cooking gas subsidy, customers buy gas cylinders at the market price and the government deposits the subsidy into the customer’ s bank account later. In case of fertilisers, farmers may not be able to make upfront payments because some of the soil nutrients are very costly.
Therefore, farmers will continue to buy fertiliser from the retailer at subsidised rate and the transaction details will be recorded on the PoS machines. The fertilizers companies used to receive subsidy on receipt of fertilizes at the district, will now get subsidy after the fertilizers are sold to farmers/ beneficiaries by the retailers to point of sale (POS) machines through biometric authentication. It is admitted that the impact of fertiliser DBT will be known after it is rolled out in the entire country.
As per ICRA research, despite normal monsoons, fertiliser volumes at the manufacturers/traders end fell sharply by 16 per cent Year-on -Year during 4 months of FY20 16-17 to 14.68 MMT. After two years of poor rainfall, good progress of monsoon and favourable agro-climatic conditions have helped in improved outlook for the fertiliser sector in the current fiscal and is set to remain stable, it says.