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Governance

Year End Review 2019: Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers

  • 26 May 2020
  • 11 min read

Introduction

The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers comprises a combination of three departments:

  • Department of Fertilisers: The main objective of the Department of Fertilizers is to ensure adequate and timely availability of fertilizers at affordable prices for maximizing agricultural production in the country.
  • Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals: The Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals has been part of the Ministry since 1991. It is entrusted with the responsibility of policy, planning, development and regulation of Chemicals and Petrochemicals Industries.
  • Department of Pharmaceuticals: The Department of Pharmaceuticals was created in July 2008 to provide greater focus for the growth of the high potential Pharmaceuticals industry.

Important Schemes and Policies

Neem Coating of Urea

  • The Department of Fertilizers (DoF) has made it mandatory for all the domestic producers to produce 100% urea as Neem Coated Urea (NCU). The benefits of use of NCU are as under:-
    • Improvement in soil health
    • Reduction in usage of plant protection chemicals
    • Reduction in pest and disease attack
    • An increase in yield of paddy, sugarcane, maize, soybean, Tur/Red Gram
    • Negligible diversion towards non-agricultural purposes.
    • Due to slow release of Nitrogen, Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) of Neem Coated Urea increases resulting in reduced consumption of NCU as compared to normal urea

New Urea Policy (NUP) 2015

  • Objectives of the policy are-
    • To maximize indigenous urea production.
    • To promote energy efficiency in the urea units.
    • To rationalize the subsidy burden on the Government of India.
  • Achievements of NUP: The production of urea during the year 2017-18 was significantly higher than the production of urea during 2013-14.

New Investment Policy- 2012

  • The Government announced New Investment Policy (NIP)-2012 in January, 2013 and made amendments in 2014 to facilitate fresh investment in the urea sector and to make India self-sufficient in the urea sector.

Policy on Promotion of City Compost

  • The Government of India approved a policy on promotion of City Compost, notified by the DoF in 2016 granting Market Development Assistance of Rs. 1500/- for scaling up production and consumption of city compost.
  • To increase sale volumes, compost manufacturers willing to market city compost were allowed to sell city compost in bulk directly to farmers.
  • Fertilizer companies marketing city compost covered under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for Fertilizers.

Use of Space Technology in Fertilizer Sector

  • DoF commissioned a three year Pilot Study on “Resource Mapping of Rock Phosphate using Reflectance Spectroscopy and Earth Observations Data” by National Remote Sensing Centre under ISRO, in collaboration with Geological Survey of India(GSI) and the Atomic Mineral Directorate (AMD).
  • Preliminary Data processing for the phosphate mapping is completed. Spectral analysis of samples collected during field work is completed.

The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme

  • It is being implemented from April 2010 by the DoF.
  • Under NBS, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis, is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic & Potassic (P&K) fertilizers depending on its nutrient content.
  • It aims at ensuring the balanced use of fertilizers, improving agricultural productivity, promoting the growth of the indigenous fertilizers industry and also reducing the burden of Subsidy.

The Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • PMBJP aims to make available generic medicines at affordable prices to all.
  • It also intends to reinvigorate the supply of affordable generic medicines with efficacy and quality equivalent to that of branded drugs.
  • About 10-15 lakh people benefit from Janaushadhi medicines per day. And the scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs.1,000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50% to 90% of average market price.
  • The sale of ‘Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable’ Sanitary Napkin through Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs) started in the year 2018-2019. Over 2 crore pads have been sold at PMBJK in the year 2019.

Scheme for Development of Pharmaceutical Industry

  • It’s objective is to ensure drug security in the country by increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic pharmaceutical industry with the following sub-schemes:
    • Assistance to Bulk Drug Industry for Common Facility Centre - For creation of common facilities in any upcoming Bulk Drug Park.
    • Assistance to Medical Device Industry for Common Facility Centre -For creation of common facilities in any upcoming Medical Device Park.
    • Pharmaceuticals Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUAS) - To facilitate Small and Medium Pharma Enterprises (SMEs) to upgrade their plant and machinery to World Health Organization (WHO)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards.
    • Assistance for Cluster Development - For creation of common facilities in any pharma clusters including Bulk Drug, Medical Device, Ayurvedic, Unani and Cosmetics Units; and
    • Pharmaceutical Promotion Development Scheme (PPDS) - For promotion, development and export promotion in Pharmaceutical sector

Medical Devices Sector

  • The DoP approved a sub-scheme termed as Development of Common Facility Centre for Medical Devices (DCFC-MD) under the umbrella scheme for Development of Pharmaceuticals Industry.
  • It aims to give financial assistance for creation of Common Facility Centers (CFC) in the upcoming Medical Device Parks. This is expected to lower down the cost of manufacturing of indigenous medical devices and hence making it more competitive.

Affordable & Quality HealthCare for All - Availability of Cheaper Medicines

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixes retail prices of the drugs on the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under schedule-I of Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) and ensures the affordability of life-saving drugs for all.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • It was established on 29th August 1997 as an independent body of experts under the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The Authority has been entrusted with the task of fixation/revision of prices of pharmaceutical products (bulk drugs and formulations), enforcement of provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order and monitoring of the prices of controlled and decontrolled drugs in the country.

Drug (Prices Control) Order, (DPCO) 2013

  • Under the provisions of DPCO 2013, only the prices of drugs that figure in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) are monitored and controlled by the regulator, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
  • Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population. The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety and efficacy.
  • Paragraph 19 of the DPCO, 2013, deals with increase or decrease in drug prices under extraordinary circumstances. However, there is neither a precedent nor any formula prescribed for upward revision of ceiling prices.

National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

  • Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. These are selected with due regard to disease prevalence, evidence on efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness.
  • The list is prepared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs)

  • A PCPIR would be a specifically delineated investment region with an area of around 250 square kilometers planned for the establishment of manufacturing facilities for domestic and export led production in petroleum, chemicals & petrochemicals, alongwith the associated services and infrastructure.
  • A PCPIR would be a combination of production units, public utilities, logistics, environmental protection mechanisms, residential areas and administrative services.
  • The Government of India has approved setting up of 4 PCPIRs in the States of Gujarat (Dahej), Andhra Pradesh (Vishakhapatnam–Kakinada), Odisha (Paradeep) and Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore- Nagapattinam).

Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET): STAR

  • The primary objective of CIPET has been contributing towards the growth of the plastics industry through a combined program of education and research.
  • The Institute has evolved through the years, creating closer ties with industries with the intent to create innovative plastic based solutions which are resource efficient and marketable. This has led to an exponential growth with activities and programs focusing on: ‘STAR’
    • S- Skill Development, T- Technology Support Services, A- Academic and R- Research.

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