Government increases fertilizer subsidies, approves high seas mission

NEW DELHI : The Union Cabinet on Wednesday increased nutrient-based (NBS) subsidy rates for phosphate and potassium (P&K) fertilizers, including diammonium phosphate (DAP), in a bid to support farmers in struggling with rising commodity prices during the current crop year.

Farmers will now receive a subsidy of ₹1,200 per DAP bag against the previous ceiling of ₹500, at an additional cost of ₹14,775 crore at the chessboard, the government announced after a cabinet meeting.

“In recent months, the world prices of raw materials for DAP and other P&K fertilizers have risen sharply. The prices of finished DAP etc. in world markets have also increased. Despite this sharp increase, prices for DAP in India were not initially increased by companies; however, some companies increased the price of DAP at the start of this fiscal year. The government is also fully responsive to the concerns of farmers and is already taking steps to remedy the situation so that the farming community can be spared the effects of this increase in P&K fertilizer prices (including DAP), “an official statement said. .

“Seeing this DAP price crisis in India as an extraordinary situation and distress for farmers, GoI increased the subsidy rates under the NBS scheme as a special package for farmers so that the price maximum retail price of DAP, including other P&K fertilizers, can be maintained. at the level of last year until the present Kharif season. This was done as a one-off measure as a covid package to reduce hardship for farmers, ”the Center added.

International prices could drop a few months after the current crop year, and the government could review the situation and set the subsidy rate accordingly, the statement said.

The fertilizer subsidy is fixed by the government in advance while the retail price may be subject to certain fluctuations depending on the international price of the product. Unlike subsidized cooking gas where the subsidy is paid directly to the consumer, the government subsidizes fertilizer to fertilizer companies, who in turn sell the product at a reduced price. The government tracks sales through point-of-sale machines installed in retail outlets.

The government has made a series of pro-farmer decisions in the recent past that are seen as a concerted effort to appease farmers protesting new farm laws. The Union government last month released the eighth installment of Prime Minister Kisan’s program by transferring more than ₹20,000 crore to about 95 million farmers. Likewise, the cabinet also increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on several crops, including paddy and pulses earlier this month.

Thousands of farmers have been participating in a sit-in at the Delhi-Haryana border for nearly seven months now, demanding the removal of recently approved farm laws.

The cabinet also approved a high seas mission to research resources and develop technologies on the high seas for the sustainable use of ocean resources. The five-year mission, with an expenditure of ₹4,077 crore, will help study ocean biology and climate change, and establish offshore stations to explore energy resources.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that only five countries – the United States, Russia, France, Japan and China – currently have this technology.

“The mission will notice changes, due to climate change, to further study the biodiversity of the deep sea. There will be a survey on the high seas. There will be an advanced marine station for ocean biology. And there will also be an offshore ocean station (to explore) thermal energy as part of the mission, ”Javadekar said, adding that it would help“ the blue economy ”.

Some of the key elements of the mission include the development of a manned submersible to transport three people to a depth of 6,000 meters with a suite of sensors and scientific tools, develop know-how on climate variables on scales of seasonal to decadal times, and help technological innovations for the exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity. The mission will also support “the development of human and business capacities in ocean biology and engineering. This strand will translate research into industrial applications and product development through on-site business incubators, ”said the Union cabinet.

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