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Pan-India roll-out of single-brand fertiliser policy by year-end

All 177 fertiliser manufacturers in the country will sell their assorted products under a single brand name – ‘Bharat’ – by December 31, 2022, three months behind the original schedule.

According to Arvind Chaudhary, Director General, Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), “the entire subsidy burden (on account of sale of fertilisers below cost) is born by the government. With the new policy, fertiliser sales will be freed from branding,” he said.

Units will have to use up old packaging materials before shifting into uniform packaging.

In August, the government had decided to implement ‘one nation, one fertiliser’ policy by introducing a single brand name for urea and other fertilisers, effective October 2, 2022.

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Fertilisers such as urea, di-amonimum phosphate (DAP), muriate of potassium (MOP) and nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) being sold by companies, state trading entities and marketing companies will be named as Bharat urea, Bharat DAP, Bharat MOP and Bharat NPK under the new policy. Of course, the name of manufacturers will be mentioned on the packs.

Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally launch ‘one nation, one fertiliser’ initiative soon.

“A common logo indicating fertiliser subsidy scheme named Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna will be used in all fertiliser bags,” the ministry had said.

The government releases the fertiliser subsidy to manufacturers, which sell their produce to farmers through their retail chains. Since October 2016, the subsidies have been released to the farmers with the use of point of sale (PoS) devices installed at outlets. Since March 2018, beneficiaries have been identified through Aadhaar number, Kisan Credit Card and other documents.

In the case of urea, farmers currently pay a fixed price of `242 per bag (45 kg) against the cost of production of around `3,000 per bag. The balance is provided by the government as a subsidy to fertiliser units.

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The government announces nutrient-based subsidy rates for phosphatic and potassic fertilisers for kharif and rabi seasons annually.

The government may revise the budget estimate (BE) for fertiliser subsidy in the current fiscal year by around 137% to `2.3 trillion, as elevated global prices of fertilisers and natural gas, the key feedstock, have inflated costs. This will be the largest ever outlay for fertiliser subsidy.

The subsidy on farm nutrients stood at `1.4 trillion (revised estimate) last year.

Chemicals and fertilisers minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently stated that the government would not pass on the burden of rise in global prices to farmers. The government has been raising the subsidy on urea in tandem with the increase in costs as the retail prices of the nutrient are fixed.

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