Government proposes direct subsidy transfer on fertilizers to farmers




Government proposes direct subsidy transfer on fertilizers to farmers 

            The government proposes direct fertilizer subsidy transfer to farmers’ bank account.  However, a major challenge in operationalizing this scheme lies in identification of beneficiary farmers as in many states the land records are neither accurate nor updated. Therefore, the Department of Fertilizers plans to have a phased approach and prepare a road map for pilot project in select districts to capture the details/identity proof of buyer’s (Aadhaar Number/ Land Details) at retail fertilizer stores in order to build a comprehensive database of beneficiary farmers over a period of time.




            Department of Fertilizers has issued Notification dt. 25.05.2015 whereby it has been made mandatory for all the indigenous producers of urea to produce 100% as Neem Coated Urea (NCU).  Since NCU cannot be used for industrial purposes, illegal diversion of subsidized urea to non-agricultural uses would not be possible.  By curbing this illegal diversion of Urea for non-agricultural purposes, the Government aims to prevent the subsidy leakages. 



            The mechanism put in place to keep prices of P&K fertilizers at reasonable rates is as under:

(A)       It has been made mandatory for the fertilizer companies to submit, the cost data of their fertilizer products from 2012-13 onwards in prescribed format on six monthly basis. The Department has also appointed Cost Accountants/Firms to scrutinize the said cost data to ensure that the prices fixed by the fertilizers companies are reasonable.

(B)       It has also been stipulated in the provisions that in cases, where after scrutiny, unreasonableness of MRP is established or where there is no correlation between the cost of production or acquisition and the MRP printed on the bags, the subsidy would be restricted or denied even if the product is otherwise eligible for subsidy under NBS Scheme. In proven case of abuse of subsidy mechanism, the Department of Fertilizers, on the recommendation of Inter-Ministerial Committee may exclude any grade/grades of fertilizers of a particular company or the fertilizer company itself from the NBS Scheme.

            The following steps are being taken by the Government to meet the requirement of fertilizers to the farmers in all State/UTs:-

(1)        The month-wise demand is assessed and projected by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation (DAC) in consultation with the State Governments before commencement of each cropping season.

(2)        On the basis of month-wise & State-wise projection given by the DAC, Department of Fertilizers allocates sufficient/adequate quantities of fertilizers to States by issuing monthly supply plan and continuously monitors the availability through following system:

(i)       The movement of all major subsidized fertilizers is being monitored throughout the country by an on-line web based monitoring system(www.urvarak.co.in) also called as Fertilizer Monitoring System (FMS);

(ii)     The State Governments are regularly advised to coordinate with manufacturers and importers of fertilizers for streamlining the supplies through timely placement of indents for railway rakes through their state institutional agencies like Markfed etc.

(iii)    Regular Weekly Video Conferences is conducted jointly by Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Department of Fertilizers (DoF), and Ministry of Railways with State Agriculture Officials and corrective actions are taken to dispatch fertilizer as indicated by the State Governments.

(iv)   The gap in the demand and domestic production of fertilizer is met through imports.

            The availability of all the fertilizers in almost all the states is adequate.

            Department of Fertilizers has issued New Urea Policy 2015 on 25th May, 2015 with twin objectives of maximizing indigenous urea production and promoting energy efficiency in the urea units to reduce the subsidy burden on the Government. 

            This information was given by the Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in reply to an Unstarred Question  in the Lok  Sabha today.




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Dr. Jitendra Singh urges Resident Commissioners of Northeast Region to be proactive 

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has urged upon the Delhi-based Resident Commissioners of States to play a proactive role in coordinating, liaisoning and expediting the various centrally supported development projects and centrally sponsored schemes in their respective States.             Addressing a joint meeting of senior officers of DoNER Ministry and Resident Commissioners from eight North Eastern States here today, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, most of the Resident Commissioners are senior officers with a long administrative experience and therefore, they can play a valuable supplementary role in bridging several missing links between the States and the Centre.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said, there is a common complaint about delay in several of the projects under the Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and one of the commonly cited reasons is delay in submission of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) with consequent rise in the budget cost and similarly, delay in acquisition or transfer of land for new projects. In all such situations, the office of Resident Commissioner of the respective States can help in getting the file work expedited through intervention both at the State as well as the Central level, he added.

Describing the DoNER Ministry as also a kind of nodal Ministry which has to deal with every other Ministry for a wide range of projects under it, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, sometimes because of the paucity of human resources, it may not be possible to pursue an individual project of a particular State lying pending in another Ministry and therefore in such cases, Resident Commissioners can depute somebody from their office to do the follow up of the documents in different Ministries and at the same time, also guide the DoNER Ministry as to where the intervention is required. For this purpose, he requested Secretary, DoNER and officials of North Eastern Council (NEC) to develop a mechanism of holding regular monthly interaction with Resident Commissioners of the eight North Eastern States and at the same time, also requested the Resident Commissioners to feel free to communicate with the officials of the DoNER Ministry without any hesitation because this Ministry is meant to facilitate the disposal of Northeast related issues and therefore they should also own the Ministry in the right spirit, he added.

During the meeting major projects from each of the eight North Eastern States were discussed one by one and status report on each was also sought. The Resident Commissioners, on their part, were extremely enthusiastic and cooperative and said that never before in the past they had been called to play such a participatory role by the Ministry.

The meeting was attended by the Resident Commissioners and officers from all the eight North Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
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ICAR - 87TH Foundation Day be celebrated in Patna ICAR to launch four new schemes 

ICAR- 87th Foundation Day, the awards ceremony and National Conference of Krishi Vigyan Kendendras will be organized on July 25, 2015 in Patna, Bihar. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will be the Chief Guest on the occasion  and he will address the agriculture scientists of the country.

To fast track the lab to land programme, four new schemes of ICAR will be launched by the Prime Minister (Farmer FIRST, Student READY, ARYA and Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav) on the occasion. ICAR Vision -2050 document will also be released by the Prime Minister in addition to this he will also distribute soil testing kits to three young farm entrepreneurs.

The Imperial Council of Agriculture was originally set up in 1929.  After India became independent, it was named as the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).The organization today has 100 institutes under its charge of which 4 are deemed universities.  It operates through the 8 subject matter divisions from its headquarters in New Delhi.  These divisions are Crop Sciences, Animal Sciences, Agriculture Education, Agriculture Extension, Horticulture Sciences, Fisheries Science, Natural Resource Management and Agriculture Engineering.The ICAR is the largest Public Sector National Agriculture system in the world.  It presides over a National Agricultural Research System in which there are 73 Agriculture Universities including 2 Central and 67 State Agriculture Universities and 642 Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

For the first time, the foundation day of the ICAR is being organized outside New Delhi. The importance of Bihar is more as India’s first Agriculture Research and Education Institute (IARI) was established in Bihar nearly 110 years ago at Pusa, Samastipur.

ICAR has institutionalizes awards in several categories and has been recognizing the institutions, scientists, teachers, agricultural journalists and farmers every year on the foundation day.82 awards under 18 categories have been selected for this year. These comprise three institutions, one AICRP, 9 KVKs, 55 scientists, 7 farmers and 6 journalists. Of the 55 scientists, 15 are women.

Categories of Awards:

·           ICAR Norman Borlaug Award
·           Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution Award
·           Chaudhary Devi Lal Outstanding All India Coordinated Research Project Award
·           Jawaharlal Nehru Award for P.G. Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agriculture and Allied Sciences
·           Panjabrao Deshmukh Outstanding Woman Scientist Award
·           Vasantrao Naik Award for Outstanding Research Application in Dry land farming systems
·           Jagjivan Ram Abhinav Kisan Puruskar /Jagjivan Ram Innovative Farmer Award (National/Zonal)
·           N.G. Ranga Farmer Award for Diversified Agriculture
·           Chaudhary Charan Singh Award for excellence in Journalism in   Agricultural Research and Development
·           Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Award for Outstanding Research in Tribal Farming Systems
·           Bharat Ratna Dr C. Subramaniam Award for Outstanding Teachers
·           Best Krishi Vigyan Kendra Awards( National & Zonal)
·           Dr Rajendra Prasad Puruskar for technical books in Hindi in Agricultural and Allied Sciences
·           Lal Bahadur Shastri Outstanding Young Scientist Award
·           Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award for Outstanding Research in Agricultural Sciences
·           Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Outstanding Extension Scientist Award
·            Hari Om Ashram Trust Award
·           NASI-ICAR Award For Innovation and Research on Farm Implements


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Jan Aushadhi Scheme to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all 


            The Government has launched ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, especially the poor, throughout the country, through outlets known as Jan Aushadhi Stores (JASs).  Under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the State Governments are required to provide space in Government Hospital premises or any other suitable locations for the running of the Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS).  Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is to provide one-time assistance of  Rs.2.50 lakhs as furnishing and establishment costs, start up cost for setting up a Jan Aushadhi Outlet.  Any NGO/Charitable Society/Institution/Self Help Group with experience of minimum 3 years of successful operation in welfare activities, can also open the Jan Aushadhi store outside the hospital premises.  A margin of 16% on the sale price is built in the MRP of each drug.  In addition, the JAS are eligible for incentive linked to sale of medicines @ 10% of monthly sales amount, subject to a ceiling of Rs.10,000/- pm for a period of first 12 months.  In case of Stores opened in North Eastern States and other difficult areas i.e., Naxal affected areas/Tribal areas etc., the rate of incentive is15% of monthly sale amount, subject to a ceiling of Rs.15,000/- per month.

            At present 182 Jan Aushadhi Stores have been opened across 16 States/UTs out of which only 111 Jan Aushadhi Stores are in operation as on 13.07.2015.  Now, since the availability position has substantially improved, focused attention is being given on opening of new Jan Aushadhi stores.  However, all out efforts are made to open at least 200 more Jan Aushadhi Stores during this financial year 2015-16.  JAS are opened on the locations as requested by the entity intending to open.  The steps are also taken to open Jan Aushadhi stores in all AIIMS, prominent Hospitals, Medical Colleges under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

            The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) was asked to study the Scheme and suggest remedial measures.  PHFI in their report pointed out the following factors which were mainly responsible for the scheme not being successful:

(i)                 Over dependence on support from State Government.
(ii)               Poor Supply Chain management.
(iii)             Non-prescription of Generic Medicines by the doctors.
(iv)             State Governments launching free supply of drugs.
(v)               Lack  of awareness among the public



Remedial measures taken for implementation of the scheme are summarized as under:-

a)      Increasing the number of products from 361 to 504 medicines and 161 surgical and consumable items
b)      Improving the supply chain mechanism through appointing Distributors and C&F agents in different States.
c)      Increasing the number of functional stores.
d)     Strengthening the Operating Agency i.e., BPPI through augmenting of manpower.
e)      Relaxation in the eligibility criteria of Operating Agency for JAS.


            Indian Drugs & Phamaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) and Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd., (HAL), the Pharma CPSEs are key partners with regard to providing medicines for the scheme.  After revival of the two Pharma CPSEs, they will play an important role.

            BPPI has initiated various steps to increase the basket of products and services with a list of 504 medicines and 161 consumables.  Rate contract for 314 medicines has already been finalized and the tender for remaining 190 medicines has also been published.  131 medicines have already been identified for PSUs and a list of 173 medicines have already been forwarded to Pharma PSUs for exploring the possibility of undertaking the manufacturing of the same.

          This information was given by the Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in reply to an Unstarred Question  in the Lok  Sabha today.

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Steps taken for revival of fertilizer plants/units 



            In view of the continuous losses of Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HFCL) stemming from technical and financial non viability of operations, Government decided to close down all five units of FCIL viz Talcher (Odisha), Ramagundam (Andhra Pradesh, now Telangana), Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Sindri (Bihar, now Jharkhand) and Korba (Madhya Pradesh, now Chhattisgarh)   and  three unit of HFCL viz. Barauni (Bihar), Durgapur & Haldia (West Bengal) in 2002.  After closure of units, there was no significant addition to the indigenous urea production capacity. However, the demand increased steadily, this had led to a situation where the country had to depend upon import of urea. In addition to these there are three fertilizer public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) which are sick at present these are Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited (BVFCL) (Namrup, Assam), Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT)( Kochi, Kerala) and Madras Fertilizer Limited (MFL)(Chennai, Tamil Nadu). Details about the present status and steps being taken by the Government to improve the operation of these PSUs are as under:



Revival of closed units of FCIL and HFCL :

In 2008, Cabinet approved to revive all units of FCIL and HFCL subject to non-recourse to Government funding and to consider write off of GOI Loan & interest to the extent required, subject to submission of a fully tied up proposal for final decision on waiver. The revival of these closed units would be through nomination route by PSUs and through bidding route by private sector. Sindri, Talcher and Ramagundam Units of FCIL to be revived on nomination basis and Gorakhpur & Korba units of FCIL and Durgapur, Haldia, Barauni units of HFCL to be revived through bidding route.

In August, 2011, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the Draft Rehabilitation Scheme (DRS) for revival of all the Units of FCIL and HFCL. DRS envisaged revival of Talcher Unit by a consortium of M/s. Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited (RCF), M/s Coal India Limited (CIL) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), revival of Ramagundam Unit by. Engineers India Limited (EIL) and National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) and revival of Sindri unit by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

            In its meeting held on 9.5.2013, CCEA approved waiver of Government of India loan and interest to facilitate FCIL to arrive at positive net worth. This enabled FCIL to get de-registered from the purview of Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

Unit-wise status of revival of the closed units of FCIL and HFCL is as follows

FCIL:

            Talcher Unit (Odisha)

The pre-project activities for revival of Talcher unit by the nominated PSUs namely, RCF, CIL, GAIL and FCIL are in progress to set-up a coal-based fertilizer plant.  Selection of coal gasification technology is in process. The project is likely to be completed by end of 2018.

            Ramagundam Unit (Telangana)

The pre-project activities for revival of Ramagundam unit (Telangana) by the nominated PSUs, namely, EIL, NFL and FCIL are in progress to set-up a gas-based fertilizer plant.  Joint Venture (JV) agreement has been signed by these PSUs on 14.01.2015.            The project is likely to be completed by September 2018.

            Sindri unit (Jharkhand)

Approved DRS envisaged revival of Sindri unit by SAIL. However, not much progress was made due to non-availability of around 3000 Acres of contiguous piece of land for the Steel Plant due to encroachments.  In the meantime, the scenario for SAIL has undergone change, a massive modernization and expansion plan of SAIL is currently under implementation, with capital expenditure (CAPEX) commitment of Rs.72,000 crore. SAIL’s borrowings have increased to around Rs. 25,300 crore. SAIL has drawn a ‘vision plan 2025’ to expand to 50 MTPA Hot Metal capacity by 2025. This requires a commitment around Rs. 2.02 lakh crore. In view of the above, SAIL has taken a view not to pursue the Sindri Revival project further.  Government explored the feasibility of revival of Sindri unit, through the ‘bidding route’.  Cabinet in its meeting held on 21.05.2015 approved revival of Sindri unit through ‘bidding route’.  Finalization and signing of Agreement between successful Bidder and FCIL is likely to be completed by end of May 2016.

            Gorakhpur unit (Uttar Pradesh)

Gorakhpur unit of FCIL is to be revived through ‘bidding route’ as per CCEA approval in 2011.  GAIL is planning to lay a gas pipeline from Jagdishpur (Uttar Pradesh) to Haldia (West Bengal).  To make this gas pipeline financially viable, the Government decided to fast tracked revival of Gorakhpur, which is en-route of Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline(JHPL) by providing land on lease basis to facilitate obtaining loan by the investor, instead of providing the land on ‘right to use’ basis as approved earlier by the CCEA in 2011.  The Cabinet in its meeting held on 31.3.2015 approved revival of Gorakhpur unit through ‘bidding route’ on revised terms. Finalization and signing of Agreement between successful Bidder and HFCL is likely to be completed by end of June 2016.







            Korba unit (Chhattisgarh)

The revival of Korba unit would be taken up later on.

HFCL:

Barauni unit (Bihar)

            Though proposal/ action plan on revival of units of HFCL to be taken up once revival of FCIL units is on track in terms of CCEA approval in May 2013, but, in the context of the recent announcement of the proposed JHPL, Government is exploring the feasibility of fast tracking the revival of Barauni unit of HFCL through ‘bidding route’, which is en-route of HBJ pipeline

The Government decided that revival of Barauni Unit of HFCL through the ‘bidding route’ by providing land on lease basis to facilitate obtaining loan by the investor, instead of providing the land on ‘right to use’ basis as approved earlier by the CCEA in 2011. The Cabinet in its meeting held on 31.3.2015 approved revival of Barauni unit through ‘bidding route’ on revised terms. Finalization and signing of Agreement between successful Bidder and HFCL is likely to be completed by end of September 2016.

          Durgapur and Haldia units:

            Durgapur and Haldia units are approved for revival through ‘bidding route’, have certain issues connected to land disputes with Asansol Durgapur Development authority (ADDA) and Kolkata port Trust (KOPT) respectively. As soon as the land issues are settled, the revival of Durgapur and Haldia units may be considered suitably by the Government based on the prevailing urea requirement/availability scenario in the country.

Revival/financial restructuring of Sick Fertilizer PSUs:

BVFCL:

BVFCL is located at Namrup, Assam.  BVFCL is incurring financial losses since inception due to low capacity utilization & high energy consumption. The plants were underperforming due to obsolete technology, equipment failures and shortage of natural gas. To address the issue of sickness of BVFCL the Cabinet in its meeting held on 21.05.2015, approved financial restructuring of the BVFCL that will help the company in making its net-worth positive and also setting up of a new Brownfield Ammonia–Urea Complex within the existing premises of BVFCL Namrup. The Cabinet has approved waiver of total cumulative interest on GOI loan till date (the cumulative interest, as on 31.03.2013, was Rs. 566.20 Crores) and conversion of GoI loans (Rs. 594.71 Crores) to interest free loan. Also waiver of loan for Rs. 21.96 Crores taken for revamp of Namrup –I  and recognition of capital expenditure of Rs. 79.62 Crores incurred for revamp of Namrup-III for calculating the concession rate of urea under NPS-III.

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Vice President Releases the Book ‘Kashmir the Vajpayee Years’ 

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari released a book entitled “Kashmir The Vajpayee Years” authored by Shri A.S. Dulat, former Head of R&AW with Shri Aditya Sinha, Senior Journalist at a function here today. Addressing on the occasion, the Vice President said that an occasion like this is rare and it does signal health rather than ill health of the Republic. 

He said that since times immemorial, imperatives of statecraft have necessitated resort to intelligence operations and the use of intelligence agents. Kautilya has a full section on the requirements of the craft. Nizam-ul Mulk in the 11th century spelt it out with great precision. The king, he wrote, must “inevitably have postmasters” adding that ‘this is a delicate business involving some unpleasantness; it must be entrusted to the hands and tongues and pens of men who are completely above suspicion and without self-interest, for the weal or woe of the country depend on them.’ 

The Vice President opined that for this reason if for no other, the rendition of happenings by Shri Dulat, as he perceived them, is to be welcomed. The contents speak for themselves; the gaps and asides are suggestive and reveal much to the initiated. The subject remains on the front burner. He felicitated Shri Dulat for daring so wade into these choppy waters. 

In this book , Shri A.S. Dulat gives a sweeping account of the difficulties, successes and near triumphs in the effort to bring back Kashmir from the brink. The Authors have shown the players, the politics, the strategies and the true intent and sheer ruthlessness of the meddlers from across the border. 

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Cheque towards PMNRF presented to PM


Shri Anurag Thakur, MP, Lok Sabha today called on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and presented him a cheque worth over Rs. 10 lakh towards Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF), on behalf of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. 

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PM greets the people of Belgium on their National Day

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has greeted the people of Belgium on their National Day. 

" National Day greetings to the people of Belgium. We have always valued our strong and deep-rooted ties with Belgium. I am sure India and Belgium will enhance their cooperation even further, which will benefit the people of our Nations," the Prime Minister said. 

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PM invites inputs for next 'Mann Ki Baat'

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has announced that the next edition of his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio address will be aired on Sunday, July 26, 2015, and has invited inputs from the people on MyGov.in for the same. 

"Looking forward to share 'Mann Ki Baat' this Sunday. Share your inputs and ideas for the programme. https://t.co/76yGSzjVK1," the Prime Minister said. 

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FACT:

FACT located at Udyogmanda, Kerala.  FACT has started incurring losses since 1998-99 and is a sick unit. In order to ensure the revival of FACT and to help it sustain and grow over the years, short term, medium term and long term plans have been identified. Accordingly, a proposal for seeking approval of the Cabinet for financial revival package of FACT has been prepared. The financial revival package is yet to be placed before the Cabinet.

MFL:

MFL started incurring losses in the year 2003-04 and declared Sick in 2009.  Thought the company has incurred profit in the last two financial years, the net-worth of the company is still negative i.e. Rs. (-) 206.19 Crores as on 31.03.2014. To make the net-worth of the company positive a proposal for the financial restructuring of MFL has been prepared. As the posts of Chairman, Secretary and two other non official members of BRPSE are vacant the proposal is still to be placed before the BRPSE for the recommendations of BRPSE.

(e):       The proposed installed capacity for each of the Talcher, Ramagundam, Gorakhpur, Sindri and the Barauni units is 13 Lakh Metric Ton (LMT) and for the Plant to be installed in the premises of BVFCL it is 8.646 LMT. The cumulative production of urea in the country will increase by 73.646 LMT.


            This information was given by the Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in reply to an Unstarred Question  in the Lok  Sabha today.

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Government proposes direct subsidy transfer on fertilizers to farmers Government proposes direct subsidy transfer on fertilizers to farmers Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 3:57 PM Rating: 5

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