M’rashtra makes Aadhaar mandatory to avail fertiliser subsidy

SansadTV Bureau

File photo of Farmers harvesting wheat crop at a field. Photo - PTI

Maharashtra has made it compulsory for farmers to disclose their Aadhaar numbers to purchase subsidised fertilisers. Disclosing of Aadhaar will become mandatory from November 1.

State agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar on Friday announced that the farmers will have to disclose their Aadhaar numbers while buying fertilisers through Point of Sale (PoS) machines to avail subsidy.

In the new system, the subsidy on fertilisers purchased will be directly deposited in the farmer’s bank account. In the old system farmers needed to have a debit or credit card to purchase fertilisers but now farmers will be able to pay in cash. But before the purchase their Aadhar numbers will be entered in the PoS machines.

“Total consumption of subsidised fertilisers in the state is 60 lakh tons, of which 33 lakh tons is used during the Kharif season while 27 lakh tons is used in the Rabi season. There are 20,988 fertiliser dealers in the state, and everyone has been given PoS machines with proper training. Without Aadhar number, farmers will not get the subsidy on fertilisers,” the minister said.

“Most farmers have been enrolled for Aadhaar. If we found someone is missing, every tehsil office has provisions to enrol. Farmers can submit enrollment number for the time being (if Aadhar application is in the process),” said Bijay Kumar, principal secretary, state agriculture ministry.

Kumar said in the new system, dealers won’t be able to divert the subsidised fertiliser, which is meant only for farmers, for industrial use or for exports.

“Estimates in the past stated that around 20 per cent of fertilisers were diverted for industrial use because they were available at cheaper (subsidised) prices,” he explained.

(With inputs from agencies)