PIB 1st April: Fertilizers sector reform

Fertilizers sector reform: On the 2nd of January 2013, the government announced the New Investment Policy (NIP) – 2012, which was amended on the 7th of October 2014, in order to facilitate new investment in the urea sector and make India self-sufficient in the urea sector. Matix Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (Matix), Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (CFCL), Ramagundam Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (RFCL), and Hindustan Urvarak& Rasayan Limited (HURL) have each set up 12.7 LMTPA urea plants in Panagarh, West Bengal, Gadepan, Rajasthan (Gadepan-III), Ramagundam, Telangana, and Gorakhpur-Uttar Pradesh respectively. 

In addition to the above, the NIP-2012 read with its amendment includes the revival of 1 closed Fertilizers and Chemicals India Ltd. FCIL unit at Sindri and 1 closed Hindustan Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (HFCL) unit at Barauni through the establishment of new greenfield urea units of 12.7 LMTPA at each location. An exclusive policy was notified on April 28, 2021, for the revival of FCIL’s Talcher unit by establishing a new greenfield urea plant with a capacity of 12.7 LMTPA. 

On May 25, 2015, the Indian government issued the New Urea Policy (NUP) – 2015 for the existing 25 gas-based urea units, with the goal of increasing indigenous urea production, promoting energy efficiency in urea production, and reducing the government’s subsidy burden. The implementation of NUP-2015 has resulted in increased production from existing gas-based urea units, resulting in a 20-25 LMTPA increase in actual urea production compared to 2014-15.

Nanotechnology-based Nano Urea (Liquid) fertilizers have recently been developed by IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited). On February 24, 2021, the Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare (DA&FW) provisionally notified Nano Urea as Nano Nitrogen Fertilizer under the Fertilizers Control Order, 1985. The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) scheme now includes PDM, or Potash Derived from Molasses, which is made entirely in the United States.

Need to recognize new Fertilizers

As a result, the Government of India (GoI) has made it a priority to recognize and identify the country’s need for new fertilizers. Under the Fertilizer Control Order, 1985, new fertilizers such as Nano fertilizer, soil, and crop-specific customized fertilizers, Bio-stimulants, and slow-release fertilizer such as Neem Coated Urea have been included.

The government of India (GoI) recommends soil tests based on balanced and integrated nutrient management using both inorganic and organic sources of plant nutrients (manure, bio-fertilizer, green manuring, in-situ crop residue recycling, etc.) with the 4Rs approach (right quantity, right time, right mode, and right type of fertilizer) and reducing the use of chemical fertilizers. Split application, the use of slow-release fertilizers such as neem coated urea, and the growing of leguminous crops are also recommended.

Through GSR 1607(E) dated December 29, 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change have notified effluent and emission discharge standards for fertilizer industries. All fertilizer industries must obtain Consent to Operate from their respective State Pollution Control Boards / Pollution Control Committees before they can operate. All fertilizer industries are required to have adequate Effluent Treatment Systems and Air Pollution Control Systems, as well as to adhere to the prescribed effluent and emission discharge standards. Industries that fail to meet the notified effluent and emission discharge standards are subject to action by the Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Boards, and Pollution Control Committees.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has ordered all 17 types of highly polluting industries, including fertilizer manufacturers, to install an Online Continuous Effluent / Emission Monitoring System (OCEMS) with real-time data connectivity to the CPCB. CPCB inspects industries on a regular basis based on OCEMS exceedance alerts or if OCEMS goes down. CPCB takes action against defaulter industries based on inspection findings and existing rules.

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