The Department of Fertilizers is exploring possibilities of transferring the fertilizer subsidy directly to the farmers and subsidy rates for 2016-17 are yet to be reviewed, Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir informed Lok Sabha today.
He said that upto October this year, the government paid subsidy of Rs 34863.97 crore on indigenous Urea whereas the amount stood at Rs 10158.90 crore on imported Urea. However, the total amount paid ( which is over 44,000 crore) is so far less than what was paid in the previous year. In 2014-15, the government paid subsidy to the tune of nearly Rs 54,400 crore on these two counts only.
The Minister said that Urea is provided to farmers at a statutory price of Rs. 5360/MT (plus sales tax and other local taxes wherever levied) plus a maximum of 5 percent of the statutory price for neem coating urea. The MRP of urea is much below the actual delivered cost. The difference of delivered price and MRP is paid as subsidy to the urea manufacturer/importer by the Government of India.
He said that the MRP along with the subsidy provided on these fertilizers is printed on each bag of these fertilizers and the farmer, who purchases these fertilizers, gets the benefit of subsidy as the subsidy on fertilizers is provided to farmers irrespective of their landholding and economic status.
On comparison of consumption of P&K fertilizers during last 5 years (2010-11 to 2014-15), it is observed that consumption of P&K fertilizers(except complexes) has shown more or less the decreasing trend till the year 2013-14. However, the consumption during the year 2014-15 has increased when compared with that during the year 2013-14.In case of urea, there is no clear-cut trend. The consumption has increased till the year 2012-13 when compared with the consumption during the previous years. Thereafter, in the year 2013-14, it has decreased and it has increased again during the year 2014-15.
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, is taking several steps to create awareness among farmers for balanced use of fertilizers. The measures include training of farmers, frontline field demonstration (FFD).
In year 2015, Soil Health Card Scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue soil health cards to all farmers in the country. Soil Health Card will provide soil test based recommendations on appropriate dosages of required fertilizers to the farmers.
Under National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology also, activities such as capacity building of extension functionaries and farmers, from line demonstrations, exposure visits, kisanmelas, farmers group mobilization, farm schools and farmers-scientists interaction etc. are taken up. Through these activities, latest agriculture technologies are disseminated to farmers of the country including creating awareness among farmers for the balanced use of fertilizers.
The Minister said that the current unpaid subsidy bills for Imported Urea sector is about Rs. 1668 crore. Unpaid subsidy bill of Indigenous Urea sector is about Rs.10747 crore. The nutrient based subsidy rates of P&K fertilizers are decided annually. The subsidy rates for 2016-17 are yet to be reviewed.