Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched the single brand ‘Bharat’ fertiliser under the ‘One Nation, One Fertiliser’ scheme, underlining the government’s efforts in making the country Atmanirbhar in the crop nutrient amid rising subsidies. Simultaneously, he announced that 3.7 lakh Kisan Samruddhi Kendras would be set up across the country. Both these decisions will boost availability and ensure quality of fertilisers.

Modi also released the 12th installment of financial benefits worth ₹16,000 crore to eligible farmers under the flagship PM-KISAN scheme.

Speaking at the PM Kisan Samman Sammelan 2022, organised jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fertiliser, the Prime Minister reminded farmers how they faced scarcity of fertilisers before 2014 and at times even had to face police action to buy a bag of urea.

“Big factories of urea in the country were closed years ago. Because a new world had arisen, imports used to fill the homes of many people and fill their pockets. The current government took steps to end black marketing with the introduction of neem-coated urea and the revival of six closed urea units to become self-reliant and reduce import-dependency,” Modi said.

Companies already adhering to norms

Under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana (PMBJP), it is mandatory for companies to market subsidised fertiliser under a single brand “Bharat”. businessline was the first to report the government plan when it was discussed with stakeholders in March this year. The initial plan was to launch it from kharif 2022, but due to concerns raised by companies, the plan was deferred to the rabi season with a flexibility for companies to exhaust their old packaging bags by December 31, so that only Bharat brands are available in the market starting 2023.

Though Modi said single branding of subsidised fertilisers will ensure quality, many experts said fertiliser companies are already adhering to government-fixed norms and there are provisions for penal action even under the existing Fertiliser Control Order for any failure to meet the standards.

The Prime Minister inaugurated 600 PM-Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PM-KSKs), which will act as one-stop shops to provide inputs and services to farmers. He said about 3.25 lakh fertiliser retail shops will be converted into PM-KSKs across the country.

He appealed to farmers to judiciously use fertilisers amid degrading soil and higher subsidies. He said the country is buying urea at ₹75-80 per kg and the government is ensuring it is sold at ₹5-6 per kg to farmers. “This has an impact on our exchequer and creates problems in implementing many projects,” he said, adding that subsidies may be about ₹2.5 lakh crore this year.