Chennai, Feb 16 (Calcutta Tube) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday called for political consensus on the issue of nutrient based subsidy (NBS) for fertilisers.
‘I am also of the view that we need to build a political consensus on this scheme before taking any decision as this scheme would affect a large section of our society,’ Karunanidhi said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
‘It would also be desirable to have views on this new scheme from select state governments with strong agricultural background,’ he said in the letter.
Apprehending runaway fertiliser prices after the introduction of NBS from April 1 onwards, Karunanidhi said: ‘Any spike in prices would definitely impact usage of fertiliser resulting in shortage of food grains in the country. Moreover, small and medium farmers would be worst hit as they are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.’
Urging postponement of the implementation of NBS, Karunanidhi also called for immediate stocking of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and other complex fertilisers for kharif season.
Earlier Karunanidhi’s son and Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers M.K. Alagiri had written to Mukherjee against NBS as well as increasing the price of urea as it would affect small farmers.
Alagiri had wanted both the proposals to be kept on hold for a year.
If that happens, it will be the third major economic policy issue on which the central government has back tracked in recent times. The first two reversals were the introduction of marine bill and the proposed changes in the sugarcane pricing.