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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 20 September, 2022

  • 8 Min Read

PRANAM Yojana

PM Promotion of Alternate Nutrients for Agriculture Management (PRANAM) Yojana

The Union government plans to implement a program called PM PRANAM to encourage states to use less chemical fertiliser.

Important Points:

  • The goal is to reduce the cost of subsidies for chemical fertilisers, which is projected to increase by 39% to Rs 2.25 lakh crore by 2022–23 from Rs 1.62 lakh crore in 2017.
  • Vision: The action is consistent with the government's recent efforts to promote the balanced use of fertilisers or alternative fertilisers.
  • Budget: The program won't have a separate budget; instead, it will be funded by savings from fertiliser subsidies received in the past through a program managed by the Department of Fertilizers.
  • The state that saves the money will receive a grant of 50% of the subsidy savings.
  • Alternative fertilizer production facilities at the village, block, and district levels are eligible to receive up to 70% of the grant money offered under the program.
  • The remaining 30% of the grant money can be used for: Recognizing and supporting farmers, panchayats, farmer producer organizations, and self-help groups who are engaged in reducing fertilizer use and raising awareness.

The Scheme's Need

  • Increased Spending Needed: The government has budgeted Rs. 1.05 lakh crore for the current fiscal year (2022-23). This year, the amount of fertilizer subsidies may exceed Rs 2.25 lakh crore.
  • Demand Rises: The total amount of four fertilizers—urea, DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), MOP (muriate of potash), and NPKS (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium)—that the country will need in 2021–22 will rise by 21% to 640.27 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) from 528.86 lakh metric tonnes in 2017–18.
  • Difficulties in the fertiliser industry Lower Production to be addressed.
  • Global fertiliser production, import, and transportation have all been influenced by the pandemic.
  • Reduction in Imports: Due to a drop in production, major fertiliser exporters like China have steadily cut back on shipments.
  • This has had an effect on nations like India, which imports 40–45 percent of its phosphate from China.
  • Mismanagement of the supply: In areas like Europe, America, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, demand has increased significantly.
  • Demand has grown, but the supply side has run into problems.
  • India is experiencing a shortage of fertilisers, particularly those containing phosphatic and potassic minerals.
  • Price increases for raw materials have been consistent, as have increases in logistics and shipping expenses.
  • The average freight prices for ships have increased up to four times as a result of the COVID logistics chain disruption.
  • In addition, the cost of fertilisers like DAP and urea as well as raw ingredients like ammonia and phosphatic acid has increased by 250–300%.
  • No Denial Policy: The Centre currently adheres to a "no denial" policy. Through the PoS machines, anyone—including non-farmers—can purchase any quantity of fertiliser.
  • Although there is a cap of 100 bags that one person can buy at once, this does not prevent anyone from buying more than once.
  • It certainly permits unintended beneficiaries—farmers who are not sincere or deserving—to purchase in bulk.

Governmental Initiative: Closing the Leaks

  • With effect from October 2016, a direct benefit transfer method is used in fertilisers to address subsidy leaks.
  • According to this scheme, fertiliser firms receive a 100% subsidy on a variety of fertiliser grades based on the actual sales that the merchants make to the recipients.
  • New nutrients including Nano urea and bio-stimulants were incorporated into the Fertilizer Control Order of 1985. (FCO).
  • Other government initiatives include neem-coated urea and the soil health card.

Recommendations from ICAR

  • Using both inorganic and organic sources of plant nutrients in conjunction, soil test-based balanced and integrated nutrient management.
  • Utilization of nitrification inhibitors and slow-releasing N-fertilizers (Neem Coated Urea).
  • cultivating leguminous plants.
  • Using technologies for resource conservation (RCTs).

Way Forward

  • It's time to seriously consider providing farmers with a flat cash subsidy per acre that they can use to buy any fertiliser.
  • In addition to biofertilizers and organic fertilisers, the government needs to promote the balanced use of fertilisers.

Source: The Indian Express


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