Devaragunda Venkappa Sadananda Gowda, the man who replaced Anant Kumar after the latter’s untimely demise, promised to solve the issues plaguing fertilizer sector at 54th Annual function of the Fertilizer Association of India in Delhi on Wednesday.
“The Chairman and DG of FAI had come to meet me in my office; they have given me a list of their demands and I have assured them that the ministry would take each of them one by one”, said Gowda to a thunderous applause from the audience.
Though new to the sector, Gowda seemed to have grasped the basics of the fertilizer sector. “As the industry has stood in good stead for the farmers of the country, this is the job of the govt to help them grow. I know the issues such as fair taxation, correction of price distortion, timely payment of subsidies, etc”, underlined Gowda.
Enthused by the presence of massive number of delegates totaling 1200 at the posh Pullman Hotel near International Airport in Delhi, Gowda said that India is perhaps the first country to have attempted DBT at such a large scale in the field of fertilizer. “I thank you all for your support”, he said.
Gowda also felt that despite being one of the largest producers of fertilizer in the world, the country has yet to depend on the raw materials such as rock phosphate, gat etc. He also recounted govt support and said that Rs 70 thousand crore was give as subsidy last year. For achieving the Prime Minister goal of doubling farmers’ income the role of fertilizer industry is crucial, Gowda underlined.
FAI’s 3 day function is being attended by several vice-chancellors of agri universities, agri scientists, captains of industry and doyens of cooperative sector.
Speaking on the occasion DG of FAI Satish Chander explained how the ratio of price distortion is affecting the sector. Ratio of DAP urea rate which was nominal in 1991 has become 5:1, Chander said. There is an urgent need to correct this, he underlined. Stressing on the relevance of the theme “Making Fertilizer Industry Viable and Vibrant’, he hoped that it would lead to stimulating debate among the participants. He also used the occasion to thank the govt for heeding to sector’s demand and bringing GST on fertilizer from 12 to 5%.
Chairman of FAI, K S Raju showed a cartoon from the year 2006 to prove his point that except rhetoric nothing has changed for the sector. “Unless the sector’s representatives are part of policy formulation team, things would not change, he stressed.
The occasion also saw award distribution where the two cooperatives involved in fertilizer production and marketing- IFFCO and Kribhco did quite well. The talk of the event was the two big awards known as Dr U S Awasthi Life-time Achievement Awards of Rs 2.5 million each in the field of agriculture development and agriculture research and secondly development of fertilizer industry were bagged by Jagdish Chand Katiyal and H S Bawa respectively.
Besides the Union Minister Sadanand Gowda, state minister Rao Inderjeet Singh and the two secretaries of agriculture and Chemicals Fertilizers were also present. There were many international delegates as well.