India Accelerates Shift Towards Nano Urea and Urea Production Expansion

India Accelerates Shift Towards Nano Urea and Urea Production Expansion

India is undertaking significant measures to enhance its agricultural productivity and reduce dependency on imported fertilisers.

Replacement of Conventional Urea with Nano Urea

  • Announcement by Union Minister:
    • Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, declared India’s plan to replace 2.5 million tonnes of conventional urea with nano urea in FY24.
  • Consumption Trends:
    • Urea consumption in the ten months leading to February 2024 decreased to 31.7 million tonnes from 35.7 million tonnes in the previous fiscal year.
  • Implementation:
    • Mandaviya stated efforts to reduce conventional urea consumption by 2.5 million tonnes in FY24, promoting awareness among farmers for nano urea usage.

Adoption of Nano Urea

  • District-wise Adoption:
    • In the last two years, 344 districts reported decreased conventional urea usage, while 74 districts exhibited increased adoption of nano urea.
  • Production and Sales:
    • Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) sold approximately 3.3 million tonnes of nano urea, valued at ₹7 crore, from August 2021 to February 2024.
  • Benefits and Controversy:
    • Nano urea, claimed to enhance nitrogen availability by 80% and reduce nutrient loss, faces scientific disputes regarding its efficacy.

Expansion Plans in Urea Production

  • Current Scenario:
    • India operates three urea plants producing 28.4 million tonnes annually, with consumption growing at 6-7% yearly.
  • Talcher Fertilizers Limited Plant:
    • Aiming to increase urea production capacity by 1.25 million tonnes annually through a fourth plant in Odisha.

Impact on Imports and Expenditure

  • Import Dependency:
    • India imports significant quantities of various fertilisers due to production shortfalls.
  • Financial Implications:
    • The fertiliser import bill reached ₹2.2 trillion in 2022-23, with a substantial portion of the union budget allocated to fertiliser subsidies.
  • Government’s Fiscal Plan:
    • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a reduction in fertiliser subsidy allocation by 13% to ₹1.64 trillion in FY25, aiming for fiscal prudence.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What is India’s target for urea production self-sufficiency?
    • A) FY23
    • B) FY24
    • C) FY25
    • D) FY26
    • Answer: C) FY25
  2. How much conventional urea consumption does India plan to replace with nano urea in FY24?
    • A) 1.5 million tonnes
    • B) 2 million tonnes
    • C) 2.5 million tonnes
    • D) 3 million tonnes
    • Answer: C) 2.5 million tonnes
  3. Which cooperative holds the patent for nano urea production in India?
    • A) KRIBHCO
    • B) NFL
    • C) IFFCO
    • D) FCI
    • Answer: C) IFFCO
  4. How many districts showed an increase in nano urea adoption in the last two years?
    • A) 34
    • B) 44
    • C) 64
    • D) 74
    • Answer: D) 74
  5. What percentage of reduction in fertiliser subsidy allocation did the finance minister propose for FY25?
    • A) 7%
    • B) 10%
    • C) 13%
    • D) 15%
    • Answer: C) 13%