"The skewed utilization of fertilizers is mainly due to pricing of subsidized fertilizers."Examine the issue throwing light on current policy framework.

This subsidy on fertilizers is provided by the Government of India to the Phosphatic and Potassic fertilizer companies. The companies then give fertilizers to the farmers at a subsidized rate, which is lower than its normal value.

Problems with uses

  • The Standing Committee on Agriculture reported that a total of 292 districts in India account for the consumption of 85% of all of the country’s fertilizers.
  • An imbalance in fertilizer use has been noticed on the basis of chemical ratio.
  • The standard ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in India is 4:2:1 which has changed to 6.7:2.4:1.
  • In the northwestern region like Punjab and Haryana, the ratio is 31.4:8.0:1 and 27.7: 6.1:1 respectively.
  • Uneven distribution in crop-wise fertilizer usage.
  • The use of fertilizer in some crops is higher than it is required.

Policy framework

The skewed subsidy policy on fertilizers favors urea only and the price of other fertilizers is high. That is why the use of urea is higher than the other fertilizers. The policy is responsible for the discrepancies in the use of fertilizers in India.

Way out

  • Reconstructing the existing fertilizer subsidy policy.
  • Promotion of organic fertilizers.
  • Setting up separate authority for the periodic scientific evaluation of pesticides.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently decided to reduce the subsidy provided for nitrogen-based fertilizers and included a complex fertilizer, ammonium phosphate, under the nutrient-based subsidy scheme of 2010.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“The skewed utilization of fertilizers is mainly due to pricing of subsidized fertilizers.” Examine the issue throwing light on current policy framework.

Published: October 28, 2015 | Modified:September 19, 2020

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