Budget Proposes 10k Crore to Clear Fertiliser Subsidy Dues: Ananth Kumar
New Delhi, India: To moderate the burden of fertiliser subsidy backlogs, a special banking arrangement of ` 10000 crores has been sanctioned in this budget to clear fertiliser subsidy dues, said Ananth Kumar, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

He added that the overall budget allocation for the Department of Fertilizer for the year 2017-18 is ` 74,235 crores. Stating that fertiliser has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the last quarter, the Minister said, "Fertilisers, along with power, has been the torchbearer of accomplishment of this go vernment."

According to Ananth Kumar, the government has taken crucial measures to make the country self-sufficient in urea and other fertilisers like encouraging energy efficiency in urea production, exploiting indigenous urea production, well-timed import of urea and other fertilisers, prepositioning of fertilisers with the states during lean season to safeguard adequate supply in the season and streamlining the subsidy. Such steps have resulted in highest ever production of 245 lakh metric tonne (LMT) of urea previous year, without adding additional capacity. Indigenous urea as well as imported urea has been neem coated. This has resulted in an increase in farm yield with less urea required and helped check black marketing and hoarding of urea.

The Union Cabinet has already given its nod for recovery the three fertiliser units – Gorakhpur & Sindri units of FCIL (Fertilizer Corporation Of India Ltd) and Baruni unit of HFCL (Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd). Cabinet has also given its endorsement for setting up of new ammonia urea complex at Namrup within prevailing locations of Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizers Corporation Limited. Further, the Talcher plant will be the first ever unit to be revived based on the coal gasification technology, Ananth Kumar added.

Keeping in pace with the international market, the Department has engaged fertilisers companies to reduce the prices of DAP, MOP and complex fertilisers by ` 125, 250 & 50 respectively per 50 gm bag from June, 2016. Prices of DAP has again been reduced by ` 65 per 50 gm during December, 2016.

Informing about the implementation of policy of promotion of city compost, Ananth Kumar said that the Government of India approved policy on promotion of city compost in which Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) of 1500 per MT has been provided for scaling of production and consumption of city compost. A budget provision of 15 crores has been made for releasing the MDA during 2017-18 on sale of city compost.

In the pharmaceutical sector, Ananth Kumar informed that under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) over 760 Jan Aushadhi Kendras are functioning across the country. With the government's target to achieve 3000 JAKs, every tehsil would have one JAK soon. Currently over 450 medicines and 150 health supplements are available at around one-third the price of branded dr ugs at the JAKs.

Further, the Minister that medical devices parks are coming up at four locations including Vishakhapatnam, Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) and others in Gujarat and Telangana. Ananth Kumar also informed about the coming up of National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), the latest been set up at Jhalawar, Rajasthan. These institutes would lead to path breaking research in pharma sector and give a boost to creating a strong force of pharma scientists in the country.

Talking about achievements in chemicals & petrochemicals sector, Kumar informed about the focus of the government on establishing Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) and Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Regions (PCPIRs) and plastic parks to give a boost to the Make in India mission. This step would lead to the generation of over 39 lakh employments prospects in times to come, he added.