Agriculture, along with its associated sectors, is India’s most important source of revenue. The agricultural sector contributes 19.9 per cent to the country’s GDP (as of FY 2020-21), while farming employs 54.6 per cent of the population. Despite the fact that India is self-sufficient in food grains, the manufacturing process is labour-intensive and regionally biased. Because most rural households rely on agriculture for a living and the agricultural soil in the country is damaged and eroded to varied degrees, many farmers utilise chemical and organic fertilizers to increase plant nutrition and crop yields, hence improving their earnings. AD Singh RJD, a Rajya Sabha member of the RJD, identifies flaws in the government’s fertilizer policies and provides a path to self-sufficiency.
India has been a net importer of fertilizer nutrients for nearly two decades (NPK). In 2019-20, India spent $6.7 billion on fertilizers. Urea ($2.9 billion), diammonium phosphate ($2 billion), and muriate of potash (MOP, $1.14 billion) are at the top of the list. We are fully dependant on imports in the case of MOP, whereas we import both the rock and the finished product in the case of DAP.
“India will continue to rely on imports of DAP and MOP since we lack the raw materials required to produce them. However, India wants to be Atmanirbhar by developing five new public-sector urea facilities with a total capacity of 6.35 MMT, of which we imported around 11 million tonnes in 2019-20,” says RJD’s A D Singh. Almost 70 per cent of the gas used in urea plants is imported, and it costs much more than indigenous gas. Out of the five, the one at Talcher is based on coal gasification and Chinese technology. Despite the fact that the global pricing is normally between $250 and $300 per tonne, many of these will cost more than $400 per tonne. “We all know that most of our public-sector companies end up as white elephants with high operating costs that must be sold to the private sector at some point. Why didn’t we allow existing private-sector urea facilities to expand and produce at a lower cost? The only one who knows the answer is the government,” adds RJD’s AD Singh.
Modifying the subsidy programme is the most efficient way to achieve Atmanirbharta in fertilizers. On a per-hectare basis, equivalent cash should be transferred directly into farmers’ accounts, freeing up fertilizer costs. Allow private sector firms to compete and boost urea production at a reasonable cost, whether in the United States or in nations in the Persian Gulf where gas is substantially cheaper. Atmanirbharta, you are accurate (self-reliance). Will the Modi government take action, or will it continue to produce white elephants that will be sold off in ten years? If this is true, only time will tell.
To attain the Abhiyan’s goals, some ways could be used. Because the government has set aside a significant number of money for the development of a variety of sectors and initiatives, it is vital that the funds generated are correctly allocated and reach the intended recipients. Natural calamities and pandemics have a particularly negative impact on the poor. As a result, the government must be prepared to deal with environmental as well as economic issues. The success of any idea or programme is contingent on effective governance and a suitable framework for implementing it.
To become a self-sufficient and global supplier, Amarendra Dhari Singh believes that we must increase both the quantity and quality of the item in order to capitalise on the opportunity that has been diverted from China. In order to properly implement the efforts stated in Abhiyan, it is vital to identify the true potential of various sectors in urban and rural India and provide them with suitable resources.