The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today approved a unique package of innovative schemes for farmers with a total outlay of Rs.3,70,128.7 crore. The bouquet of schemes is focused at overall wellbeing and economic betterment of farmers by promoting sustainable agriculture. The initiatives will boost farmers’ income, strengthen natural / organic farming, rejuvenate soil productivity, and ensure food security.
The CCEA approved continuation of Urea Subsidy Scheme to ensure constant availability of urea to the farmers at the same price of Rs 242/ 45 kg bag excluding taxes and neam coating charges. Out of above approved package, Rs. 3,68,676.7 Crore have been committed for urea subsidy for three years (2022-23 to 2024-25). This is apart from recently approved Nutrient Based Subsidy of Rs 38,000 Crore for Kharif season for 2023-24. The farmers need not spend extra for purchase of urea, and this will help moderate their input costs. At present, the MRP of urea is Rs.242 per 45 kg bag of urea (exclusive of charges towards neem coating and taxes as applicable), whereas the actual cost of the bag comes around Rs. 2200. The Scheme is wholly financed by the Government of India through budgetary support. The continuation of Urea Subsidy scheme will also maximize indigenous production of Urea to reach self-sufficiency levels.
Due to ever changing geopolitical situation and increased raw material prices, Fertilizer prices have been increasing multifold globally over the years. But Government of India has protected its farmers from steep fertilizer price rise by increasing the fertilizer subsidy. In its endeavour to safeguard our farmers, Government of India has increased Fertilizer subsidy from Rs. 73,067 Cr in 2014-15 to Rs. 2,54,799 Cr in 2022-23.
By 2025-26, eight Nano urea plants with production capacity of 44 Crore bottles equaling to 195 LMT of conventional urea will be commissioned. Nano fertilizer releases nutrients in a controlled manner contributing to higher nutrient use efficiency and while costing less to the farmers. Application of Nano Urea has demonstrated increase in crop yield.
Setting up and revival of 6 urea production units at Chambal Ferti ltd. - Kota Rajasthan, Matix ltd. Panagarh West Bengal, Ramagundam-Telangana, Gorakhpur-UP, Sindri-Jharkhand and Barauni-Bihar since 2018 is helping to make the country atmanirbhar in terms of urea production and availability. Indigenous production of urea has increased from the level of 225 LMT during 2014-15, to 250 LMT during 2021-22. In 2022-23, production capacity has increased to 284 LMT. These along with Nano Urea Plants will reduce our current import dependency in urea and finally make us self-sufficient by 2025- 26.
Mother Earth has always provided plentiful sources of sustenance to mankind. It is the need of the hour to go back to more natural ways of farming and promotion of balanced / sustainable use of chemical fertilizers. Promoting natural / organic farming, alternate fertilizers, innovations like Nano Fertilizers and bio-Fertilizers can help in restoring fertility of our Mother Earth. Thus, it was announced in the Budget that “PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness Generation, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother – Earth (PMPRANAM)” will be launched to incentivize States/ Union Territories to promote alternate fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers.
Rs. 1451.84 crore have been approved for Market Development Assistance (MDA) for promoting Organic Fertilizers from Gobardhan Plants
Today’s approved package also consists of innovative incentive mechanism for the restoration, nourishment, and betterment of the mother earth. Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme in the form of Rs 1500 per MT to support marketing of organic fertilizers, viz., Fermented Organic Manures (FOM)/Liquid FOM/Phosphate Rich Organic Manures (PROM) produced as by-product from Bio- gas Plants/Compressed Biogas (CBG) Plants set up under umbrella GOBARdhan initiative.
Such organic fertilizers would be branded in the names of Bharat Brand FOM, LFOM and PROM. This on one hand will facilitate in addressing the challenge of management of crop residue and problems of Parali burning, will also help in keeping the environment clean and safe and at the same time provide an additional source of income for farmers. Farmers will get organic fertilizers (FOM/LFOM/ PROM) at affordable prices.
This initiative will facilitate implementation of Budget announcement of establishing 500 new waste to wealth plants under GOBARdhan scheme for promoting circular economy, by increasing the viability of these BG/CBG plants.
Promotion of Natural Farming as sustainable agriculture practice is restoring soil health and reducing input costs for farmers. 425 KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) have laid down demonstrations of natural farming practices and organized 6,777 awareness programs involving 6.80 lakh farmers. Course curricula for Natural Farming has also been developed for BSc as well as MSc programmes to be implemented from the academic session July-August 2023.
Another initiative of the package is that the Sulphur coated Urea (Urea Gold) is being introduced in the country for the first time. It is more economical and efficient than the currently used Neem coated urea. It will address Sulphur deficiency for the soil in the country. It will also save input costs for the farmers and also raise incomes for farmers with enhanced production & productivity.
About one lakh Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PMKSKs) have already come up in the country. For the convenience of farmers, the farm inputs are being provided as a one stop solution for all needs of farmers.
The approved schemes will help in judicious use of chemical fertilizers, thereby reducing input cost of cultivation for the farmers. Promoting natural/ organic farming, innovative and alternate fertilizers like Nano Fertilizers and organic fertilizers will help in restoring fertility of our Mother Earth.