Due to very fluctuating international raw material prices, which had made it difficult for the fertiliser industry to sustain viable operation. Thus, leading to extreme shortages of fertilizers for farmers.
Main objectives of the bill
- The Bill aims to promote the development and sustainable use of balanced fertilisers to sustain India’s food and nutritional security without causing adverse harm to the environment and health of the soil.
- It also aims to “simplify the process for the manufacture, production, distribution and price management of fertilisers” with stated objective of “improving the ease of doing business” while encouraging innovation.
- To give effect to the provisions, a sectoral regulator in the form of an Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Authority of India will be set up.
- States have also been empowered to appoint State Controllers of Fertilisers and Fertiliser Inspectors, who can conduct impromptu inspections on industry and trade armed with powers to search, seize and confiscate.
- The Centre has come up with a draft Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Bill, 2022 to help the industry to grow faster and to streamline the fertilizers demand.
Main concerns with the bill
- Bill too focused on tightening the already pervasive government controls over the fertiliser sector, by setting up an elaborate Inspector Raj to oversee it.
- The Bill empowers the Centre with sweeping powers to cap the maximum selling prices for fertilisers, while allowing it to fix different prices for different regions and customers.
- The Centre will have powers to restrict the movement of fertilisers from one State to another and to dictate the quantities of fertiliser a manufacturer may sell in each State
- The sectoral regulator in the form of an Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Authority of India, State Controllers of Fertilisers and Fertiliser Inspectors, given overarching powers to search, seize and confiscate.
- The fertilizer industry rightly apprehends that the elaborate inspector Raj will encourage rent-seeking and hamper ease of doing business.
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