On May 26, when the Central Government Celebrates its four years in power and the ministries present their report cards, one ministry — the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers — will be in focus. The reason: Its tagline — Farmer’s India — Kisan Ka Maan – Desh Ka Samman, Khet se Khane ki Thaali Tak.
Fighting the anti-farmer tag, Prime Minister Modi has promised to double farmers’ income by 2022.
With Farmers on the Modi Government’s Agenda, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is set to come under the Government lens. Its tagline highlights its efforts to increase farmers’ income.
Fertiliser Subsidy, ‘Record’ Urea Production -In its agriculture pitch, the Modi Government is set to state that it has ensured minimum losses to farmers. It will highlight its budget allocation for fertilizer, urea and nutrient-based subsidies, which it says has risen by almost 8 percent to Rs 70,000 crore. The Government is expected to point out that the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of fertilizer subsidies was completed by March 2018.
The Modi Government is also banking on its efforts in urea production and disbursal. The fertilizer ministry says the highest ever production of 245 LMT of indigenous urea was in 2017.
Retailers and farmers in all districts also reported ‘nil shortage’ of urea due to the mandatory neem coating. On May 25, 2015, Government made neem coating of urea compulsory to prevent its diversion to the industrial sector.
The Government will also highlight the introduction of 45-kg urea bags with a MRP of Rs 242 per bag, replacing the replacing 50-kg bags.
The Government has also reduced cross-border sale of Urea to Nepal and Bangladesh from Kishanganj.
Revival of Defunct Fertilizer Units- Another area that the government is expected to play up is the proposed investment of Rs 40,000 crore to revive the defunct fertiliser units in Gorakhpur, Sindri, Talcher, Ramagundam and Barauni.
The Ramagundam project is likely to be commissioned by December 2018, the Sindri and Gorakhpur units of FCIL and Barauni unit of HFCL are likely to be operational by October 2020. The Talcher project is likely to start production by 2021.
State sets Ambitious Targets for 2018-19- In a year marked by a squeeze in the agriculture sector, farmer protests and a subsequent crop loan waiver in Maharashtra, credit to the agriculture sector, especially fresh crop loans, has plummeted to its worst-ever in three years in the state, with a 50 per cent drop as compared to last year.
As per data with the Maharashtra State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), the total finance for the agriculture sector in Maharashtra provided by various banks this fiscal is Rs 48,857 crore, only 63 per cent of the targeted Rs 77,207 crore or 2017-18. The figure is also almost half of the credit disbursed to the agriculture in the last fiscal: in 2016-17, the agriculture credit was Rs 96,906 crore, a 33 percent growth over the previous year.
Similarly, the quantum of crop loans within the agriculture credit fell to Rs 25,322 crore, a 40 per cent drop as compared to the Rs 42,173 crore in 2016-17. While banks had a target of ensuring a 29 per cent increase in crop loans this year, the actual disbursement was just 47 per cent of the target.
In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the disbursement of crop loans had grown by 19 percent and four per cent, respectively, over the previous year.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi