Reform in fertilizer sector

The Government has announced New Investment Policy (NIP) – 2012 on 2nd January, 2013 and its amendment on 7th October, 2014 to facilitate fresh investment in the urea sector and to make India self-sufficient in the urea sector. Under NIP – 2012 read with its amendment, 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 set up urea plants of 12.7 Lakh Metric Ton per annum (LMTPA) capacity each at Panagarh-West Bengal, Gadepan-Rajasthan (Gadepan-III), Ramagundam-Telangana and Gorakhpur-Uttar Pradesh respectively.

In addition to above, revival of 1 closed unit of Fertilizers and Chemicals India Ltd. FCIL namely Sindri and 1 closed unit of Hindustan Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (HFCL) at Barauni by means of setting up of new greenfield urea units of 12.7 LMTPA at each of the locations is also included under the NIP-2012 read with its amendment. For the revival of Talcher unit of FCIL by setting up a new greenfield urea plant of 12.7 LMTPA an exclusive policy has been notified on 28th April 2021.

The Government of India has also notified the New Urea Policy (NUP) – 2015 on 25th May, 2015 for existing 25 gas based urea units with the objective of maximizing indigenous urea production; promoting energy efficiency in urea production; and rationalizing subsidy burden on the Government. The implementation of NUP-2015 has led to additional production from the existing gas based urea units due to which the actual production of urea has increased by 20-25 LMTPA in comparison to the actual production during 2014-15.

Recently, IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited) has developed nanotechnology based Nano Urea (Liquid) fertilizers. Department of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare (DA&FW) has provisionally notified Nano Urea as Nano Nitrogen Fertilizers in Fertilizers Control Order, 1985 on 24th February, 2021.

PDM or Potash Derived from Molasses which is 100% indigenously manufactured has been included under Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) scheme.

Thus, it has been the endeavor of the Government of India (GoI) to recognize / identify the need for new fertilizers in the country. New fertilizers like Nano fertilizers, soil and crop specific customized fertilizers, Bio-stimulants, slow releasing fertilizers like Neem Coated Urea etc have been included under Fertilizer Control Order, 1985.

Government of India (GoI) recommends soil test based balanced and integrated nutrient management through conjunctive use of both inorganic and organic sources (manure, bio-fertilizers, green manuring, in-situ crop residue recycling etc) of plant nutrients with 4Rs approach i.e. right quantity, right time, right mode and right type of fertilizers and to reduce use of chemical fertilizers. In addition, split application, use of slow releasing fertilizers including neem coated urea and growing leguminous crops are also advocated.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has notified effluent and emission discharge standards for fertilizer industries through GSR 1607(E) dated December 29, 2017.It is mandatory for all the fertilizer industries to operate only after receiving Consent to Operate from respective State Pollution Control Boards / Pollution Control Committees.  It is mandatory for all the fertilizer industries to have adequate Effluent Treatment System and adequate Air Pollution Control System and to comply with the prescribed effluent and emission discharge standards.Central Pollution Control Board / State Pollution Control Boards / Pollution Control Committees take action on those industries that fail to comply with the notified effluent and emission discharge standards.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued directions to all 17 categories of highly polluting industries including Fertilizer industries to install Online Continuous Effluent / Emission Monitoring System (OCEMS) with real time data connectivity to CPCB. CPCB conducts regular inspections of the industries based on exceedance alerts of OCEMS or if OCEMS becomes offline. Based on the observations of inspections, CPCB takes action on the defaulter industries as per extant rules.

The information was given by the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Bhagwanth Khuba in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.