Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

How dangerous is Ammonia?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ammoni compounds and its uses

Mains level : Not Much

Two persons died and several took ill in a major ammonia gas leakage at a fertilizers unit at Prayagraj.

Try this PYQ:

Q. With reference to chemical fertilizers in India, consider the following statements:

  1. At present, the retail price of chemical fertilizers is market-driven and not administered by the Government.
  2. Ammonia, which is an input of urea, is produced from natural gas.
  3. Sulphur, which is a raw material for phosphoric acid fertilizer, is a by-product of all oil refineries.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Ammonia

  • Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world.
  • More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.
  • A tri-hydroid of nitrogen (NH3), ammonia is a building block for ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that is used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Why is it harmful?

  • According to experts in Chemistry, ammonia is stored for industrial use in liquid form under high pressure or in gaseous form at low temperature.
  • In such cases, the cause of death is always suffocation as in the case of Prayagraj incident, the victims must have been very close to the point of a gas leak.

Effects on the human body

  • Ammonia, even in moderate concentration, can cause irritation to eyes, skin, nose and throat.
  • It interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, and respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide.
  • It is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.
  • As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.

Secretion in humans

  • Ammonia, which is highly soluble in water, is found in soil, air, and water; it is naturally present in the body.
  • It is secreted by the kidneys to neutralize excess acid.
  • However, it is highly diluted when in the environment and does not affect the human body to a noticeable level.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

[pib] Calcium Nitrate and Boronated Calcium Nitrate

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Calcium Nitrate

Mains level : India's import dependence of fertilizers

Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers has launched an indigenous variety of fertilizers- ‘Calcium Nitrate’ & ‘Boronated Calcium Nitrate’.

Try this PYQ:

Why does the Government of India promote the use of ‘Neem-coated Urea’ in agriculture?

(a) Release of Neem oil in the soil increases nitrogen fixation by the soil microorganisms

(b) Neem coating slows down the rate of dissolution of urea in the soil

(c) Nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is not at all released into atmosphere by crop fields

(d) It is a combination of a weedicide and a fertilizer for particular crops

What is Calcium Nitrate?

  • Calcium nitrate is used as a water-soluble fertilizer in agriculture. In addition, this product is also used in wastewater treatment and to increase the strength of cement concrete.
  • Last year, around 1.25 lakh metric tons (1,23,000 tons) of Calcium Nitrate was imported in the country.
  • Of this, 76% was imported from China and the rest from other countries like Norway and Israel.
  • These indigenous varieties will provide a quality product at a cheaper rate to the farmer community in the country than imported ones.

Uses of Calcium nitrate

  • The fertilizer grade calcium nitrate is popular in the greenhouse and hydroponics. It is also used to control certain plant diseases.
  • Calcium nitrate is also used in wastewater pre-conditioning for odour emission prevention.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

[pib] Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates and its fixation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NBS schemes

Mains level : NBS scheme and its benefits

Union Cabinet has approved fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers for the year 2020-21.

 

Fertilizer subsidy  accounts for large fiscal subsidies (about 0.73 lakh crore or 0.5 per cent of GDP), the second-highest after food.  We can expect a question like – “Discuss the role of NBS in ensuring land fertility and farm productivity in India.”

 

About Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

  • The NBS Scheme for fertilizer was initiated in the year 2010 and is being implemented by the Department of Fertilizers.
  • Government is making available fertilizers, Urea and 21 grades of P&K fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices through fertilizer manufacturers/importers.

What NBS provides?

  • The scheme allows the manufacturers, marketers, and importers to fix the MRP of the Phosphatic and Potash fertilizers at reasonable levels.
  • The MRP will be decided considering the domestic and international prices of P&K fertilizers, inventory level in the country and the exchange rates.
  • The NBS ensures that adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at a statutory controlled price.

Fertilizers covered

  • Under this, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, except for Urea based on the nutrient content present in them.
  • It is largely for secondary nutrients like N, P, S and K and micronutrients which are very important for crop growth and development.
  • In India, urea is the only controlled fertilizer and is sold at a statutory notified uniform sale price.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

[pib] APNA UREA – SonaUgle

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : APNA UREA - SonaUgle

Mains level : Not Much

 

APNA UREA – SonaUgle

  • The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers launched the “APNA UREA – SonaUgle” brand of Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL).
  • HURL is Joint Venture Company promoted by the three Maharatna Companies i.e. Coal India Limited (CIL), NTPC Limited (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as the lead promoters with FCIL and HFCL as other two partners.
  • The commissioning of the HURL’s three Units in the states of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand will open forward and backward linkages for business activity in the Eastern part of India.
  • It will be instrumental in opening new avenues for the generation of income and employment in the Eastern part of our country.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

Glyphosate-based herbicides

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Glyphosate and its hazards

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • Monsanto (the company Bayer acquired in 2018) produces the glyphosate based herbicides which allegedly has cancer risks.

Glyphosate based herbicides

  • The herbicides are based on a compound called glyphosate.
  • First developed in 1970, glyphosate is scientifically N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC system of nomenclature.
  • It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds. It is widely used in India, too.

Usage in India

  • According to a 2016 bulletin published by the ICAR the weedkiller in India goes by various brand names, including Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
  • Glyphosate was highly accepted by the tea planters in the past two decades. It has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
  • Presently, the consumption of glyphosate is highest in Maharashtra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus.
  • France, Italy, and Vietnam banned the herbicide’s use after the WHO finding.

Issues over Glyphosate

  • In 2015, the WHO study found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Since then activists have been campaigning against glyphosate-based products.
  • The herbicide is needed for agriculture and is used in many countries, including the US, China, Brazil and Canada.
  • The harmful effects on human health are yet to be established as the WHO has not issued any advisory.

Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

[pib] Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) for fertilizers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nutrient based subsidies for fertilizers

Mains level : various initiatives for reducing input costs for farmers

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy Rates for P&K Fertilizers for the year 2019-20.

Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

  • The NBS Scheme for fertilizer was initiated in the year 2010 and is being implemented by the Department of Fertilizers.
  • Government is making available fertilizers, Urea and 21 grades of P&K fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices through fertilizer manufacturers/importers.
  • Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, except for Urea based on the nutrient content present in them.
  • It is largely for secondary nutrients like N, P, S and K and micronutrients which are very important for crop growth and development.
  • In India, urea is the only controlled fertilizer and is sold at a statutory notified uniform sale price.

What NBS provides?

  • The scheme allows the manufacturers, marketers, and importers to fix the MRP of the Phosphatic and Potash fertilizers at reasonable levels.
  • The MRP will be decided considering the domestic and international prices of P&K fertilizers, inventory level in the country and the exchange rates.
  • The NBS ensures that adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at a statutory controlled price.
Subscribe
Notify of
8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments