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Fertiliser subsidy to rise further

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on fertilisers approved the prices of complex fertilisers for the financial year 2011-12.

The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, approved the prices of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), muriate of potash (MOP), sulphur and urea for the purposes of its nitrogen component at $580, $390, $180 and $350 per tonne, respectively. These are the prices at which contracting by the industry would be done for the whole financial year of 2011-12 under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy that was implemented for complex fertilisers from April 1, 2010.

However, the farm gate prices of these complex fertilisers would remain nearly at the same levelsaid a senior official from the department of fertilisers. In other words, the prices at which the fertilisers would be available to the farmers would remain at the existing level. The official also said the meeting took place in order to apprise the finance minister of the subsidy component required to be paid out in the upcoming financial year.

“The government is likely to increase fertiliser subsidy keeping in view high global prices,” Fertiliser Secretary Sutanu Behuria said today. The government has set up a task force under Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani to find out a feasible mechanism that would enable direct transfer of subsidy to those farmers, families and individuals that are entitled to kerosene, LPG and fertiliser.

Fertiliser subsidy, as it exists today, is available to all farmers. It is not possible to differentiate the segments for which the subsidy should be given in this sector.

There is a need to evolve a suitable mechanism for direct subsidies to individuals who are entitled to them, the finance ministry said.


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