Fertiliser shortage should not hamper farm output: PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has instructed key government functionaries to ensure that a shortage of fertiliser does not come in the way of food grain production.business Updated: Jan 08, 2010 20:58 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has instructed key government functionaries to ensure that a shortage of fertiliser does not come in the way of food grain production.
Policy-makers are groping for options to tackle the soaring food prices, and are looking to enhance food stock supplies.
“We cannot allow fertilisers to become a constraint on agricultural production,” Singh noted in response to a recent communication from agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
Pawar had alerted the Prime Minister in a December 29 letter that foodgrain production was getting squeezed due to shortage of fertilisers.
“Fertiliser companies seem to be facing a problem of liquidity and are also concerned over timely release of fertiliser subsidy. These would impair their ability to deliver fertilisers on time and in required quantity,” Pawar had told Singh.
A day later, the prime minister instructed his principal secretary T.K.A. Nair to discuss the issue with Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar and the fertiliser and agriculture secretaries.
Pawar said if food production is to be increased in the kharif season beginning April 2010, “fertiliser companies (should) finalise their production plans and enter into contracts for imports of fertilisers well in advance,” he said.
The government is yet to disburse Rs 17,633 crore of subsidies for 2009-10, out of a total Rs 74,214.09 crore.
The industry has also not been able to encash bonds worth Rs 16,500 crore, issued by the government as subsidy to fertiliser companies over the last several years, due uncertain market conditions.