Fertilizer Control Order (FCO)
The Government of India has declared fertilizer as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (ECA) and has notified Fertilizer Control Order, 1985 (FCO) under this Act.
Role of State Government
- Under this Act, it is the responsibility of the State Governments to ensure the supply of quality of fertilizers by the manufacturers or importers of fertilizers as prescribed under the FCO under the ECA.
- As per the provision of the FCO, the fertilizers, which meet the standard of quality laid down in the order, can only be sold to the farmers. There are 71 fertilizer testing laboratories including four laboratories of the Government of India at Faridabad, Kalyani, Mumbai and Chennai with an annual analyzing capacity of 1.34 lakh samples.
- The quality of the fertilizers imported in the Country is invariably checked by the fertilizer quality control laboratories of the Government of India.
- The State Governments are empowered to draw samples of the fertilizers anywhere in the Country and take appropriate action against the sellers of Non-Standard fertilizers.
- The penal provision includes prosecution of offenders and sentence if convicted up to 7 years imprisonment, under the ECA, 1955. Besides they can also do cancellation of authorization certificate and other administrative action.
- The Department of Fertilizers makes deductions along with penal interest on the quantity of the fertilizers for which the State Governments have reported to be Non-Standard.
- Payment of concession for P&K (Phosphatic and Potassic) and Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertilizer is made by the Department according to the quality given by the State Governments for the fertilizers received and sold in the State.
- SSP units are required to produce month-wise 'Quality Certificates' issued by the State Governments of the State in which the units are located. The units are required to have well equipped laboratory to test the sample.
- They are also required to print 'Quality Certified' on each bag released in the market.
- Department of Fertilizers has also constituted vigilance teams of the Officers of the Department to check the availability and quality of the fertilizers in the States.
Concession Scheme for P&K Fertilizers
- The main purpose of this Scheme is to provide P&K fertilizers to the farmers at affordable prices. To increase the food productivity in the country through balanced use of fertilizers.
- To ensure reasonable rate of return on the investments made by the entrepreneurs in the fertilizer sector.
- To make a balance in consumption of nitrogenous, phosphatic and Potassic fertilizers.
Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS)
- Under the NBS Policy, a fixed rate of subsidy (in Rs. per Kg basis) is announced on nutrients like Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) by the Government on annual basis.
- The IMC recommends a per tonne additional subsidy on fortified subsidized fertilizers carrying secondary (other than ‘S’) and micro- nutrients.
- The Committee also recommends inclusion of new fertilizers under the subsidy regime based on application of manufacturers or importers and its need appraisal by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), for decision by the Government.
- The per Kg subsidy rates on the nutrient N, P, K, S is converted into per tonne subsidy on the various P&K fertilizers covered under NBS Policy.
- Any variant of the fertilizers covered under the subsidy scheme with micronutrients like Boron and Zinc, is eligible for a separate per tonne subsidy to encourage their application along with primary nutrients.
- At present 22 grades of P&K fertilizers namely DAP, MAP, TSP, MOP, Ammonium Sulphate, SSP and 16 grades of NPKS complex fertilizers are covered under the NBS Policy.
- MRP of P&K fertilizers has been left open and fertilizer manufacturers or marketers are allowed to fix the MRP at reasonable rates.
The Department of Fertilizers has been entrusted the responsibility of ensuring movement, distribution and allocation of subsidized chemical fertilizers, from various fertilizer plants and ports in accordance with the State-wise requirement assessed by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation (DAC).
How Fertilizer Assessment Is Done?
1. It is finalized by Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in consultation with, DOF, States, Railways, Fertilizers Association of India, Companies and other stake holders.
2. Bi-annual Zonal Conferences are held before start of each cropping season, Kharif and Rabi.
1. Weekly Video conference is conducted jointly by DAC, DoF, Ministry of Railways with State Agriculture Officials, corrective actions are taken to dispatch fertilizer as indicated by the State Governments.
2. Through imports, the gap in the requirement and indigenous production of Fertilizers is met.
3. DoF ensures availability of fertilizers at State level, State Governments are responsible for equitable distribution as per District/ Block level requirement.