Union Cabinet is likely to approve PM PRANAM (Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth) in its meeting on Wednesday. The scheme seeks to lessen the use of chemical fertilisers by farmers as well as the subsidy burden on the government. The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 01 as part of the Budget for FY24.

The scheme will be launched to incentivize States and Union Territories to promote the use of alternative fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers, said the Finance Minister during her Budget speech.

The scheme will be implemented for three years. It is expected to decrease the use of fertilizers by 45.78 LMT. In monetary terms, it will save around ₹20,000 crore.

Earlier, while making a submission before the Parliamentary Committee, Department of Fertilizers (DOF) informed that the scheme is expected to be implemented in 2023-24 subject to approval by the Cabinet. The DOF will be the sponsoring entity for this scheme, while the Department of Expenditure (DOE) will administer the funds for 3 years.

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The scheme seeks to support the mass movement/campaign initiated by States/UTs for saving the health of mother earth by way of promoting balanced/sustainable use of chemical fertilizers. It will also promote adoption of alternate fertilizers like organic/bio and nano fertilizers and natural/organic farming.

The objective of the scheme is to incentivize States that reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and proactively promote alternate fertilizers. It is proposed that 50 per cent of the fertilizer subsidy saved by a State/UT in a particular financial year by way of reduction in consumption of chemical fertilizers (Urea, DAP, NPK, MOP), compared to previous 3 years’ average consumption, will be passed on to that State/UT as a grant.

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For example, if a State consumed 38 LMT of fertilisers in a particular year and the average consumption during the last three years in the State was 40 LMT, the State would be given 50 per cent of 2 LMT as a grant.

While 95 per cent of the funds will be with the States, 5 per cent of the funds will be utilised by the DOF to launch information, education and communication activities for the promotion of soil health.

Out of the funds given to States, 65 per cent will be utilised by the State in asset creation, while the remaining 30 per cent will be utilised for promotion of organic fertilisers and awareness generation.