Govt's urea bag trick may save Rs.6,000 crores a year

The government has found an innovative solution to cut urea consumption, which can help it save about Rs.6,000-7,000 crore subsidy annually. In the next six months, all urea bags will be available only in 45 kg instead of the usual 50 kg, as `there will be less wastage'.

The fertiliser ministry believes this will result in farmers using two bags weighing 90 kg against the current practice of using two bags, which weigh 100 kg and this will lead to a significant change in the consumption pattern and also lead to sharp decline in costly urea imports. The government set aside Rs.14,000 crore for urea import in 2017-18.

“The decision has been taken and the process has started. Usually farmers calculate how much urea they need for one acre in terms of bags. So, by reducing five kg in each bag, we will see 10% fall in consumption. Moreover, 45 kg of neem coated urea is equivalent to normal 50 kg bag,“ said Dharampal, joint secretary (fertilizer).

The Centre budgeted Rs.70,000 crore for fertiliser subsidy in the current fiscal.Sources said a recent analysis by agriculture ministry indicated use of urea per acre has gone down by 4-6%.

Officials said the overall decrease in urea consumption could also be because of 100% neem coating of the soil nutrient. The Centre has already started work on reviving closed urea manufacturing plants to ramp up production by 2022

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