Fertilizer subsidy allocation increased by 62%

The central government on Wednesday announced nutrient-based subsidy rates for phosphate and potash fertilizers for the April-September planting season to relieve farmers from rising global commodity prices, the government said. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur to journalists.

This translates to a 62% increase in the total FY23 fertilizer subsidy to 1.62 trillion of the 1 trillion initially allocated in the Union budget for FY23.

For the kharif season alone, the approved nutrient-based subsidy for phosphate and potash fertilizers is 60,939 crores, according to an official statement.

The increase in international prices of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and its raw materials was mainly absorbed by the government, according to the statement. The subsidy on the DAP would be 2,501 per bag, up from the existing subsidy of 1,650 per bag, a 50% increase. It will help farmers receive notified phosphorus and potassium fertilizers at subsidized and affordable rates, according to the release.

The Cabinet also approved the continuation of the Prime Minister’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme of street vendors beyond March 2022 until December 2024. The scheme offers collateral-free loans at a subsidized rate. The idea is to support the socio-economic development of street vendors. The approval is expected to benefit nearly 12 million citizens of urban India.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has also approved the construction of the 540 megawatt Kwar Hydropower Project in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) at a cost of Rs 4,526 crore. The project is expected to generate 1,975 million units of electricity and be commissioned in 54 months, according to an official statement. The project will be implemented by Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt. Ltd is a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corp. with capital contributions of 51% and 49%, respectively.

Thakur said the demand for electricity at J&K is increasing and the project will return surplus electricity from the Union Territory. The project will be on the Chenab River.

The government has also approved the revised cost estimate for setting up India Post Payments Bank with additional funding of 820 crore for FY21 to FY23. The cost of the project has thus gone from 1,435 crore to 2,255 crores in the form of capital injection to meet regulatory requirements.

To enable better internet and data services in areas affected by Maoist extremism, the government has approved the upgrade of 2G mobile sites to 4G, the statement said.

As part of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) project, 2,343 sites will switch from 2G to 4G mobile at an estimated cost of 1,884.59 crores including operation and maintenance for five years.

The government has also decided to open a new Indian mission in Lithuania.

With contributions from Swati Luthra & Gulveen Aulakh

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