New Delhi: The Indian cabinet approved a policy that would link the prices of some fertilizers to international rates in a move that the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers claimed would help save the government about Rs1,160 crore in annual subsidies.
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Fertilizer secretary J. S. Sarma said the government would link the subsidy paid to domestic producers of diammonium phosphates (DAP) to the price at which the fertilizer is imported.
The ministry is of the view that providing concessions to indigenous DAP on the basis of import parity price, or IPP, will ensure competitiveness and provide a rational basis for the subsidy.
Mint had reported on 26 June that the cabinet was considering a new policy that is likely to peg the subsidy to the international prices of key ingredients phosphprous and pottassium.
Separately, Prithviraj Chauhan, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the cabinet meeting did not discuss the India-US nuclear deal, which has caused a serious rift between the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition and Left parties that support the government from the outside.
Policy decisions: Prithviraj Chauhan, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office. Photograph: Prabhas Roy / Hindustan Times
The minister did say that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for extending grants-in-aid to the Indian pharmaceutical industry for research and development projects involving clinical trials for drugs aimed at tackling diseases prevalent in tropical regions.
This was under the drugs and pharmaceuticals research programme of department of science and technology.
The scheme is expected to help the pharma industry develop new drugs to fight diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, kala-azar and filariasis.
According to the minister, Rs45 crore has been set aside during the 11th five-year plan for this.
In other decisions, the cabinet also approved amending the Seeds Bill 2004. The proposed amendments would regulate the quality of seeds and ensure availability of seeds to farmers and help curb sale of spurious and poor quality seeds.
The cabinet committee also approved launching a scheme aimed at promoting balanced use of fertilizers with an outlay of Rs429.85 crore.