Category: Fertilizers

OVERCOMING THE REFORM CHALLENGE

If the Government is serious about making a dent on subsidy, it should dismantle controls and give subsidy directly to target beneficiaries (the poor) under direct benefit transfer. This will pave the way for many players, increase supply, offer more choices and foster competition In the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) statement (a statutory requirement under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003) presented by the Modi Government, expenditure on fertiliser subsidy during 2018-19 and 2019-20 was kept unchanged at Rs 70,000 crore. The provision was the same in this year’s budget. Allocation for food subsidy has been increased from Rs 145,000 crore  during 2017-18 to Rs 175,000 crore during 2018-19 and further to Rs 200,000 crore in 2019-20....
More No comments

Fertilizers and food – reforms put in deep freezer

In the medium-term expenditure framework statement [MTEFS] – a statutory requirement under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act [FRBM] [2003] – presented by Modi –government, the spend on fertilizer subsidy during 2018-19 and 2019-20 has been kept unchanged at Rs 70,000 crores being the provision in the budget for current year 2017-18. The allocation for food subsidy has been increased from Rs 145,000 crores during 2017-18 to Rs 175,000 crores during 2018-19 and further to Rs 200,000 crores in 2019-20. These numbers are completely out of sync and in contradiction with the government’s commitment to ‘rationalize’ and ‘target’ both fertilizer and food subsidy [i.e. give these to the poor/deserving only] – made in successive budgets as well as the...
More No comments

APATHETIC ATTITUDE RUINING BUSINESS

The fertiliser industry, in India is slumping due to the burden on investors to sell at low price and delayed payment of subsidy dues by the Government Last year, Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) sold its urea business viz plant in Babrala, Uttar Pradesh to Yara Fertilisers India Private Limited [YFIL] — Indian arm of Norway’s Yara lnternational ASA — for a sum of Rs 2,670 crore. This was a distress sale. Then, it had also alluded to selling its complex fertiliser business (including Haldia unit). Now, the TCL are in advanced negotiations with India-born Indonesian billionaire Prakash Lohia of Indorama Corporation to sell Haldia unit — on a slump sale basis for Rs 600-800 crore. The sale will include the plant and other fixed assets and...
More No comments

Fertilizers – ‘controls’ trigger one more exit

Last year, Tata Chemicals Limited [TCL] sold its urea business viz. plant in Babrala, Uttar Pradesh with 700,000 tons ammonia and 1.2 million ton urea capacity to Yara Fertilizers India Private Limited [YFIL] – Indian arm of Norway’s Yara lnternational ASA – for a sum of Rs 2670 crores. This was a distress sale fetching the company only 2/3rd of the money so far invested. Then, it had also alluded to selling its complex fertilizer business [including plant at Haldia]. Keeping their promise, the Tatas are in advanced negotiations with Indian-born Indonesian billionaire Sri Prakash Lohia of Indorama Corporation to sell the Haldia unit – on a slump sale basis for Rs 600-800 crore. The sale will include the plant...
More No comments

Self-sufficiency in fertilisers or building castles in air?

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar has announced the government’s decision to revive five closed plants of Fertiliser Corporation of India (FCIL) and Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation Limited (HFCL). They are: Talcher (Odisha), Ramagundum (Telangana), Sindri (Jharkhand), Barauni (Bihar) and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). To be commissioned by 2020-21, their revival is expected to add 7.5 million tonnes (mt) of urea capacity. The minister has also exuded confidence that the decision for mandatory neem coating of urea (2015) will result in 10% improvement in the efficiency of fertiliser use. Taking urea consumption of about 33 mt annually, this will save about 3.3 mt. He also referred to steps for increasing utilisation of the existing capacity. This has led to increase...
More No comments

Fertilizer reforms – time for big bang

An official from the department of fertilizers is reported to have said that by putting 45 kg of urea in a bag, it is possible to achieve 10% saving in consumption. His logic is that farmer calculates requirements on per acre basis. He needs 90 kg which can be met with 2 bags of 45 kg each against current practice of using two bags of 50 kg each. Are we to infer that until hitherto, 10% urea was going waste as he was forced to buy 100 kg – against need of 90 kg – and that loss will now be prevented with use of 45 kg bag? How come such an innovative idea did not strike policy makers earlier?...
More No comments

Self-sufficiency in fertilizers – building castles in the air

Union Minister for chemicals and fertilizers, Ananth Kumar has announced government’s decision to revive five closed plants of Fertilizer Corporation of India [FCIL] and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited [HFCL] viz. Talcher [Odisha], Ramagundum [Telengana], Sindri [Jharkhand], Barauni [Bihar] and Gorakhpur [Uttar Pradesh]. To be commissioned by 2020-21, their revival is expected to add 7.5 million tons [mt] of urea capacity. Kumar has also exuded confidence that the decision of the government to make neem coating of urea mandatory [2015] will result in 10% improvement in the efficiency of fertilizer use. Taking urea consumption of about 33 mt annually, this will result in saving of about 3.3 mt. The minister also referred to steps aimed at enticing manufacturers to increase utilization...
More No comments

DBT for fertilizers – shun flawed mechanism

Alluding to direct benefit transfer [DBT] of fertilizer subsidy, in budget speech for 2016-17, finance minister, Arun Jaitely had stated :- “We have already introduced DBT in LPG. Based on this successful experience, we propose to introduce DBT on pilot basis for fertilizer in few districts in the country with a view to improving quality of service delivery to the farmers.” As a follow up, DBT of fertilizer subsidy is now in operation on a pilot basis in 11 districts viz. West Godavari, Krishna and Rangareddi [Andhra Pradesh]; Una [Himachal Pradesh]; Hoshangabad [Madhya Pradesh], Pali [Rajasthan], Krishnaganj [Bihar], Karnal and Kurukshetra [Haryana]; Nashik and Raigarh [Maharashtra] From the next kharif season beginning April, 2017, the scheme will be launched in...
More No comments

Will DBT work?

The version of DBT being tried in pilot districts is flawed. It will provide no proper assessment of the scheme’s effectiveness. Alluding to the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of fertiliser subsidy, in budget speech for 2016-17, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated: “We have already introduced DBT in LPG. Based on this successful experience, we propose to introduce DBT on pilot basis for fertiliser in a few districts in the country with a view to improving quality of service delivery to the farmers.” The focus on the DBT has its link to a revelation made in Economic Survey (2015-16). It stated that “24% of the fertiliser subsidy is spent on inefficient producers, 41% is diverted to non-agricultural uses and 24%...
More No comments

IDEA IS GRAND, BUT WILL IT WORK WELL?

Running a pilot project on DBT for fertiliser by itself does not ensure that the scheme will actually be launched. Moreover, the project is deeply flawed Alluding to direct benefit transfer (DBT) of fertiliser subsidy, in his Budget speech for 2016-17, Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley had stated: “We have already introduced DBT in LPG. Based on this successful experience, we propose to introduce DBT on pilot basis, for fertiliser in a few districts in the country, with a view to improving quality of service delivery to the farmers.” The focus on DBT links with a revelation made in the Economic Survey (2015-16). It stated that “24 per cent of the fertiliser subsidy is spent on inefficient producers, 41...
More No comments
error: