Moving ahead with reforms for better targeting of subsidies and plugging leakages, the Union Government has decided to roll out Direct Benefit transfer (DBT) for fertilizer subsidy from 1 June across the country.
“DBT for fertilizer subsidy is planned to be rolled out in all districts from 1 June. But it will be released to fertilizer companies instead of the beneficiaries on the basis actual sales made by the retailer to the farmers through Point of Sale(PoS),” said Union Secretary Fertilizers, Bharathi Sivaswami Sihag.
Ms.Sihag has informed the State Government in this regard and urged to be in readiness by appointing Nodal Officers at State and District level.
After the success of Pilot Projects in 19 Districts of the country, the nationwide rollout of DBT across the country is envisaged in a phased manner, said Ms.Sihag.
According to the plan, the fertilizer subsidy will be given to the producer after capturing the Aadhaar number through a point of sale machine of the farmer when he purchases a bag of fertilizer.
The difference between the actual value and the subsidized price of fertilizer will then be transferred to the producer’s bank account.
“Aadhaar will authenticate the identity of the farmer and ensure that the subsidized fertilizer is used by the intended beneficiary,” said the official.
This requires procurement of PoS devises at retailer points, training of retailers, regular up-dation of stock of subsidized fertilizers in the PoS devices and sensitization of farmer beneficiaries, which needs active participation of the State Government.
She informed that Government of India has mandated 60 Crore Digital Transactions for the fertilizer sector.
Union Secretary underlined the imminent need for installation and PoS rollout at all retail points as early as possible.
Principal Secretary Agriculture or Information Technology may be appointed Nodal Officers at State level and District Collectors as Nodal Officers in the District level.
Representation of all Stakeholders in the Nodal Bodies is needed to be incorporated for better coordination and monitoring, said she.
Lead Fertilizer Suppliers of each state to ensure procurement and installation of PoS devices at each retailer points.
In the meantime Department of Fertilizer has worked out a detailed framework on DBT on Fertilizer, which is needed to be operationlized by the State Government, said sources.
Sources in the State Government said that authorities in Department of Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment are working out details to facilitate DBT in Fertilizer Sector.