The Central Government plans to introduce the PM PRANAM scheme. The PM PRANAM stands for PM Promotion of Alternate Nutrients for Agriculture Management. The government plans to introduce this scheme to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers in India by incentivising states. The government proposed the PM PRANAM scheme during the National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Campaign on 7 September 2022.
Objectives of PM PRANAM Scheme
- The scheme aims to reduce the subsidy burden on chemical fertilisers, expected to increase by 39% to Rs.2.25 lakh crore in 2022-2023 compared to Rs.1.62 lakh crore in the previous year.
- It aims to discourage chemical fertiliser usage and promote sustainable agriculture practices.
Need for PM PRANAM Scheme
According to government statistics, the need for fertilisers has grown recently. The combined demand for urea, MOP (Muriate Of Potash), DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) and NPKS (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) increased by 21% from 528.86 LMT (Lakh Metric Tonnes) to 640.27 LMT between 2017-18 and 2021-22.
The overall expenditure on subsidies has increased due to an increased demand for fertiliser over the past five years. In the current year (2022-23), the government has allocated Rs.1.05 lakh crore, but the Fertiliser Minister stated that the fertiliser subsidy could cross Rs.2.25 lakh crore during the current year.
The PM PRANAM seeks to reduce chemical fertiliser use and thus reduce the burden on the exchequer. It is also in line with the government’s focus to promote alternative fertilisers or the balanced use of fertilisers in the last few years.
Features of PM PRANAM Scheme
- The scheme will be financed by the “savings of existing fertiliser subsidy” under the schemes run by the Department of Fertilisers scheme and will not have a separate budget.
- 50% subsidy savings will be given as a grant to the state that saves money.
- States can use 70% of the grant given under the scheme for asset creation related to alternate fertiliser production and technological adoption of alternate fertiliser units at the block, village and district levels.
- States can use the remaining 30% of the grant money to incentivise panchayats, farmer producer organisations, farmers and self-help groups involved in awareness generation and reducing fertiliser use.
- The government would compare a state’s reduction or increase in urea in a particular year to its average consumption of urea during the last three years.
- The data on a Fertiliser Ministry dashboard, IFMS (Integrated fertilisers Management System), would be used to collect the state’s urea consumption data.
Benefits of PM PRANAM Scheme
- The scheme explicitly aims to promote the reduced use of chemical fertilisers.
- It would promote using other nutrients and fertilisers, including natural nutrients.
- Reduced use of chemical fertilisers may improve soil quality in the long run. It will enhance the yield and productivity of Indian agriculture.
- Excessive exposure to chemical fertilisers affects human health through cancers and diseases caused due to DNA damage. It would promote a safe work environment.
- Environmental pollution due to chemical fertilisers can pollute water bodies, leading to algal bloom and affecting aquatic life. This scheme would prevent environmental damage.
The PM PRANAM scheme could be a game-changer for the agricultural industry as it would encourage natural farming, lower the burden of subsidies, increase yield, and encourage states. Sources said the ministry had begun inter-ministerial discussions on the proposed scheme and will complete the draft after incorporating the views of the concerned departments. The government is yet to determine the launch date for the PM PRANAM scheme.
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