New Delhi :The Government is planning to allow the fertiliser companies to directly import urea, as against the current practice where only three canalising agencies import the crop nutrient.
According to sources, Fertiliser Ministry is considering a proposal to de-canalise urea imports by allowing fertiliser companies to import this commodity.
At present, the country produces about 22-23 million tonnes of urea and imports about 8 million tonnes to meet domestic requirement.
The imports are undertaken through three canalising agencies – MMTC, STC and Indian Potash Ltd.
The government controls urea sector by fixing the maximum retail price (MRP) at Rs 5,360 per tonne. The difference between the cost of production and retail price is reimbursed to urea producers.
Fertiliser subsidy stood at about Rs 70,000 crore during last fiscal.
Sources said that various meetings have been held in last few months about this issue and the government is very keenly considering the option to ease the process of urea import.
The decision to de-canalise the urea imports requires Cabinet approval and therefore the Department of Fertilisers may move a Cabinet note in coming days, they added.
The proposal to de-canalise urea import is being considered at a time when global prices of the fertiliser has come down to about USD 260-270 per tonne compared to USD 300 per tonne a year ago.