To study viability of direct subsidy to farmer: Fertiliser Min

"We will soon appoint a consultant for carrying out a study on extending fertiliser subsidy directly to the farmers on a pilot basis," the newly-appointed Fertiliser Secretary Sutanu Behuria told PTI.

Fertiliser subsidy is now disbursed through the industry.
The consultant, he said, would carry out the feasibility study of the programme, announced by the Finance Minister in the current year's Budget, following which it would be rolled out throughout the country.

"The administration of such a subsidy scheme may be much more difficult than just giving a coupon to the farmers. The study will help us see how feasible it will be," Behuria said.
"Once we get the results of the study, the scheme will be rolled out across the country after necessary modifications and discussion with the stakeholders," he added.

The government had spent Rs 64,032.30 crore on subsidy during the year 2009-10, down from 99,494.71 crore in 2008-09. The subsidy outgo in the year 2008-09 was more because of higher prices of finished fertilisers and raw material in the international market.
It had announced a nutrient-based subsidy policy in April this year as part of its move to decontrol prices for DAP, MOP and complex fertilisers but left the urea sector untouched. The price of urea is still determined by the government.

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