One Nation, One Fertiliser Scheme: Central Government has ordered the implementation of ‘One Nation, One Fertiliser’ scheme. The new scheme is aimed at bringing about uniformity in fertiliser brands across the country under the single brand name of ‘Bharat’. Along with this, the fertiliser subsidy scheme has also been officially renamed the PradhanmantriBharityaJanurvarakPariyojna (PMBJP) and will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers. The scheme mandates all manufacturers and businesses to sell fertiliser products under a single brand name of ‘Bharat’.
Save the date: starting 2 October 2022, all bags of subsidised fertilisers will have ‘Prime Minister’ printed on them under a new scheme!!!
Not sure what this is supposed to achieve. pic.twitter.com/XqfyPYj0J4
— SayantanBera (@sayantanbera)
August 24, 2022
Following orders of its implementation on Wednesday – 24th August, the decision came under heavy political criticism from opposition parties. Congress party criticised the decision to order uniform branding of fertilisers saying that the Central Government had reduced the fertiliser subsidy by 25% from ₹ 1,40,122 crore in 2021-22 to ₹ 1,05,222 crore in 2022-23.Let’s look at the key provisions, benefits and risks involved with the One Nation, One Fertiliser Scheme.
Fertiliser is one of the most highly subsidized commodities in the Indian market. MRP for all urea-based fertilisers is decided by the government with the manufacturers receiving subsidies for higher production costs or costs of import. The government is expected to foot a bill of Rs 200,000 crore in 2022-23 on fertiliser production. Being one of the most heavily subsidized products for which price is also decided by the government, the brand being promoted through it must be centralized and government-owned.
The need for Pradhanmantri Bharitya Janurvarak Pariyojna with a uniform branding for fertiliser products being sold in the country was felt due to the cross-cross selling of fertilizes by brands. The Ministry had observed that as fertilisers manufacturers enjoy government’s freight subsidy, many companies were involved in thecriss-cross movement of fertilisers for longer distances. A company producing fertiliser in UP was selling it to farmers in Maharashtra and vice versa. This created brand-wise demand for fertilisers in specific areas leading to shortage of fertilisers while local manufacturers suffered. To overcome this challenge, the government conceptualized the PMBJP scheme. The decision to control the movement of Fertilisers across the country has been ordered under the Fertiliser (Movement) Control Order, 1973. Simply put, the scheme is aimed at controlling black advertising by fertiliser companies and bring transparency in the system.
PMBJP – Key Provisions
- The PradhanmantriBharityaJanurvarakPariyojna (PMBJP) scheme mandates that
- All fertiliser products being sold under the PMBJP scheme should carry a single brand name ‘Bharat’, irrespective of if it is produced by the public or private sector
- Different types of fertiliser products will carry Bharat brand name i.e., ‘Bharat Urea’, ‘Bharat DAP’, ‘Bharat MOP’ and ‘Bharat NPK’
- All bags or packaging material used for fertilisers should carry “a logo indicating Fertiliser subsidy scheme namely Pradhanmantri Bhartiya JanurvarakPariyojna in two-thirds space. Companies are allowed to display their name, brand and logo and other relevant product information in the rest of one-third space only.
- The new provisions of PMBJP will come into effect from 2nd October 2022 onwards.
- Fertiliser production companies are not allowed to procure old design bags from 15th Sept 2022 onwards and will have to exhaust all bags of old design by 12th December 2022.
Criticism Against One Nation One Fertiliser Scheme
Takes away Marketing and Branding Opportunities: Currently, fertiliser manufacturing companies are free to market their products and create a distinctive brand identity for their product. These companies use to undertake several field-level workshops and marketing activities with farmers to promote their products and build trust with the end-users. With the implementation of the One Nation, One Fertiliser policy, this opportunity would be lost.
Reduce Fertiliser Companies to Contract Firms: The scheme will limit the fertiliser companies to mere contract manufacturers and importers for the government.With no real incentive to improve production techniques.