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Cabinet Approves PM-PRANAM and Urea Gold Schemes to Promote Sustainable Agriculture

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has recently approved several schemes aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and ensuring the well-being of farmers. These initiatives include the PM-PRANAM scheme and the introduction of sulphur-coated urea (Urea Gold) to address soil deficiencies. Additionally, the Cabinet has allocated a substantial subsidy for organic manure.

Here are the details of these schemes:

Cabinet Approves PM-PRANAM and Urea Gold Schemes to Promote Sustainable Agriculture
Cabinet Approves PM-PRANAM and Urea Gold Schemes to Promote Sustainable Agriculture
  1. PM-PRANAM: Encouraging Balanced Fertilizer Use

The Cabinet has approved the PM-PRANAM (PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Generation, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth) scheme. This scheme aims to incentivize states to promote alternative fertilizers and reduce the reliance on chemical fertilizers. Under PM-PRANAM, participating states will be rewarded with subsidies saved from reducing chemical fertilizer usage.

For instance, if a state reduces its consumption of conventional fertilizers by a certain amount, such as 3 lakh tonnes, the subsidy saving would amount to Rs 3,000 crore. Out of this subsidy saving, the central government will provide 50% (Rs 1,500 crore) to the state for promoting the use of alternative fertilizers and supporting other development projects.

  1. Urea Subsidy Scheme: Continuation for Three Years

The Cabinet has decided to continue the current urea subsidy scheme for three years, ending in March 2025. The scheme ensures the availability of fertilizer to farmers at a consistent price of Rs 242/45 kg bag (excluding taxes and neem coating charges). The total outlay for urea subsidy over this period amounts to Rs 3.68 lakh crore.

  1. Introduction of Sulphur-Coated Urea (Urea Gold)

To address sulphur deficiencies in the soil, the government has approved the introduction of sulphur-coated urea, known as Urea Gold. This marks the first-time use of this type of urea in the country. Sulphur-coated urea is more economical and efficient than other types, with a nitrogen absorption efficiency of 78% (compared to 30% in conventional urea).

By implementing Urea Gold, the government aims to improve soil health, reduce input costs for farmers, and enhance production and productivity.

  1. Subsidy for Organic Manure: Market Development Assistance

The Cabinet has allocated Rs 1,451 crore as a subsidy to promote organic manure. The Market Development Assistance (MDA) will support the marketing of organic fertilizers, such as Fermented Organic Manures (FOM), Liquid FOM, and Phosphate Rich Organic Manures (PROM) produced as by-products from Biogas Plants or Compressed Biogas (CBG) Plants.

Under the MDA scheme, a subsidy of Rs 1,500 per tonne will be provided to facilitate the marketing of organic fertilizers. This initiative is part of the broader GOBARdhan initiative, which promotes sustainable agriculture practices and the efficient utilization of bio-waste.

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