Minister of State for Planning (IC) and Chemicals & Fertilizers, Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh, in a written reply to a question on quality and prices of fertilizers, in Lok Sabha, said that fertilizers have been declared as Essential Commodity under Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and in order to ensure supply of adequate quantity of good quality of fertilizer to the farmers, the Government of India promulgated the Fertilizer (Control) (Organic, Inorganic and Mixed) Order, 1985 (FCO) and Fertilizer (Movement Control) Order, 1973.
Mr. Singh said that the quality of fertilizersis governed under the FCO provisions. The specifications of various fertilizers are specified under FCO. Clause 19 of FCO strictly prohibits the sale/manufacture of fertilizer which are not of prescribed standards. No person shall sell any product as fertilizer unless it is specified under the FCO.
Mr. Singh further said that it is the prime responsibility of the State Governments to ensure quality fertilizers to farmers as per FCO specifications and are adequately empowered to implement the provisions of FCO. Any violation of provisions of FCO invokes both administrative and penal penalties. Under FCO, it is mandatory to indicate the MRP on bags of fertilizer and no person shall sell or offer for sale any fertilizer at a price exceeding the maximum price or rate fixed, the Minister added.
Shri Singhsaid that reasonableness of MRP of P&K fertilizers fixed by the fertilizer companies is examined by the Department of Fertilizers under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme. It has been stipulated in the provisions that in cases, where after scrutiny, unreasonableness of MRP is established or where there is no correlation between the cost of production or acquisition and the MRP printed on the bags, the subsidy would be restricted or denied even if the product is otherwise eligible for subsidy under NBS Scheme. In proven case of abuse of subsidy mechanism, the Department of Fertilizers, on the recommendation of Inter-Ministerial Committee may exclude any grade/grades of fertilizers of a particular company or the fertilizer company itself from the NBS Scheme.
The Minister also stated that there is no report of instances of unauthorized sale of fertilizer from any State Government. However, State Governments have been adequately empowered to take actions against persons who indulge in illegitimate activities, violating provisions of FCO, 1985, Fertilizer (Movement Control) Order, 1973 and Essential Commodities Act, 1955.