Centre clears Rs 22,000 crore subsidy to Fertiliser Industry

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (UNI) The government will soon release Rs 22,000 crore to the fertiliser industry towards the subsidy bill during this fiscal, apart from the budgetary allocation of Rs 32,000 crore.

Minister for Steel, Chemicals and Fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan said that arrangement for the same has been made and the payment will be made in cash.

Speaking after receiving the dividend cheque for Rs 1.5 crore from the FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL) here today, Mr Paswan said the decision to pay the second tranche of Rs 22,000 crore was made at a meeting taken by the Cabinet Secretary.

He said that the second tranche is in addition to the provision of about Rs 32,000 crore made in Union Budget for 2008-09.

Mr Paswan further said the ''total fertiliser subsidy bill is estimated to be Rs 1,15,000 crore in 2008-09, following hike in global price of fertilisers and addition of complex fertilisers to the concession scheme, while we have made available Rs 54,000 crore cash payment to the industry''.

Mr Paswan said, ''When I joined, the subsidy was Rs 13,000 crore, which has now increased to Rs 1.15 lakh crore. But in last four years, not a single penny burden has been imposed on the farmers as there was no increase in the prices of fertilisers. We have reduced the prices of complex fertilisers by up to 19 per cent.'' Fertiliser companies in India have to sell their products to farmers at below-market prices and the government compensates them in cash or bonds.

Appreciating the performance of FAGMIL, the Minister said, the company incorporated in 2003 has been earning profit since inception and also paying dividend since 2004-05. He said the government is trying to increase the production of Mineral Gypsum. It has proposed to revive PPCL in Sasaram, Bihar.

Mineral Gypsum is used for reclamation of Sodic land for cultivation, apart from being a source of Sulphur nutrient for plant growth and its productivity.

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