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Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) for P&K Fer

  Oct 30, 2021

Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) for P&K Fertilizers

Q Why is the context ?

A 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 last quarter of the year 2021-22.

Q What is 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.
  • Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized 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.

Q What is NPK?

  • All plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow. Without enough of any one of these nutrients, a plant will fail.
  1. Nitrogen (N): It is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant.
  2. Phosphorus (P): It is largely responsible for root growth and flower and fruit development.
  3. Potassium (K): It is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of the plant perform correctly.
  • Knowing the NPK values of fertilizer can help you select one that is appropriate for the type of plant you are growing.

Q What NBS provides?

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

Q What are Issues with NBS ?


  • Leaves urea: Urea which the most widely used, is left-out in the scheme and hence it remains under price control as NBS has been implemented only in other fertilizers.
  • Cost on exchequer: Fertilizer subsidy is the second-biggest subsidy after food subsidy.
  • Costs on Economy and Environment: The NBS policy is not only damaging the fiscal health of the economy but also proving detrimental to the soil health of the country.
  • Black marketing: Subsidised fertilizers is getting diverted to bulk buyers/traders or even non-agricultural users such as plywood and animal feed makers.

Q What is Soil Health Card (SHC) ?

  • Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme is promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • An SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding and advice him/her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.
  • SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.
  • It will be made available once in a cycle of 2 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period.
  • The SHC given in the next cycle of 2 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.

Parameters of SHC:

  • N, P, K (Macro-nutrients)
  • Sulfur (S) (Secondary- nutrient)
  • Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micronutrients)
  • pH, EC (Electrical conductivity) , OC (Organic content)