Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 13
The Centre’s decision to implement direct benefit transfer (DBT) for fertiliser subsidy across the country is aimed at preventing the diversion of fertilisers for commercial use.
From this paddy season, farmers will only get subsidy for neem-coated urea, which they will have to purchase by producing Aadhaar card to get subsidy credited to their accounts.
As per a study, data from various states showed that transaction time and alleged instances of overcharging by retailers has come down following this method. Also, the overuse of subsidised fertilisers and its diversion for industrial use registered a decline.
As a result, the government could limit the fertiliser subsidy for 2017-18 to Rs64,999 crore in the revised budget estimates, down more than 7 per cent from the initial estimates at the beginning of the fiscal year.
An official said DBT would entail full payment to fertiliser companies on their sale. At the time of the sale, details of the buyer, the quantity, Aadhaar number, land records, wherever available, and soil health will be recorded using a point-of-sale (PoS) machine. The subsidy amount will be settled in a few days with the manufacturer, which will end the precedence of subsidy in the fourth quarter spilling over to the next fiscal, he pointed out.
The idea is to clear the staggering Rs35,000-crore backlog over the years on this account, he said.