Topic of the Day - Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme

Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) programme for fertilizer was initiated in the year 2010. Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (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. The scheme is being implemented by the Department of Fertilizers.

In India, urea is the only controlled fertilizer and is sold at a statutory notified uniform sale price. The scheme allows the manufacturers, marketers, and importers to fix the MRP of the Phosphatic and Potassic fertilizers at reasonable levels. The Maximum Retail Price will be decided considering the domestic and international prices of P&K fertilizers, inventory level in the country and the exchange rates.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for the continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) 12th Five Year plan till 2019-20. The continuation of the Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme will ensure that adequate quantity of P&K is made available to the farmers at a statutory controlled price.


Aims of the Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme:

  • The scheme aims at ensuring that sufficient quantity of P&K is at the farmer’s disposal at statutory controlled prices. So that the agricultural growth can be sustained and balanced nutrient application to the soil can be ensured.
  • It aims at ensuring balanced use of fertilizers, improving the agricultural productivity, promoting the growth of the indigenous fertilizers industry and also reducing the burden of Subsidy.


Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme has been implemented with the expectation that it will promote balanced fertilization of soil, which will lead to increased agricultural productivity and consequently better returns to the farmers. 


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