Self-sufficient in urea output in five years: President

New Delhi: The government is aiming to make India self-sufficient in urea fertiliser output in the next five years through the revival of eight closed plants, President Pratibha Patil said today. The country`s urea production is stagnant at around 21-22 million tonne and about 7-8 million tonne is being imported to meet the domestic demand.

"My Government has decided to revive eight urea units of Fertiliser Corporation of India and Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation to create an extra installed capacity of 9 million tonnes of urea. We are aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in urea production in the next five years," Patil said in her address to the joint-session of Parliament.

She also said the availability of subsidised fertilisers has been ensured as per the requirement during the year. That apart, Patil mentioned that the Fertiliser Ministry is working on a comprehensive monitoring system which would provide information on fertiliser availability to the farmers through SMS, Internet and telephone.

Recently, the Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee approved a new policy to attract investments into fresh capacity in urea, the fertiliser most commonly used in the country.

Unlike potash and phosphatic fertilisers, the urea sector is controlled by the government. The maximum retail price (MRP) of urea has been fixed at Rs 5,310 per quintal. The difference between the cost of production and the MRP is being paid to the manufacturers.

Last year, urea contributed Rs 23,900 crore to the fertiliser subsidy bill and it is likely to be Rs 24,500 crore in the 2011-12 fiscal. Urea played an important role in boosting foodgrain production during the first Green Revolution in 1960s.