Recent Approval of Nutrient-Based Subsidy Rates for Rabi and Kharif Seasons (2022-23): A Balanced Approach for Agricultural Prosperity

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October 31, 2023

Recent Approval of Nutrient-Based Subsidy Rates for Rabi and Kharif Seasons (2022-23): A Balanced Approach for Agricultural Prosperity

Cabinet approves Nutrient Based Subsidy rates for Phosphatic and Potassic  fertilizers for Rabi season 2022-23 from 1st October, 2022 to 31st March,  2023 | Prime Minister of India


  • The Union Cabinet’s recent nod to the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Rabi and Kharif seasons in 2022-23 marks a pivotal moment in India’s agricultural policy. This article delves into the NBS regime, outlining its objectives and challenges, while underscoring the necessity of a balanced approach to tackle economic, environmental, and distribution concerns.

Understanding the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) Regime

Subsidized Fertilizers

  • Farmers benefit from fertilizers offered at reduced rates, determined by their nutrient content, including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash, and Sulphur.

Additional Subsidy

  • Fertilizers enriched with supplementary nutrients like molybdenum and zinc receive extra financial support.

Key Features of Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS)

Targeted Subsidy

  • Fertilizers are subsidized based on their nutrient composition, focusing on essential elements like Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potash (K), and Sulphur (S).

Additional Subsidy for Fortified Fertilizers

  • Fertilizers containing secondary and micronutrients, such as molybdenum (Mo) and zinc, receive additional subsidies.

Annual Determination of Rates

  • The government annually announces subsidy rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, considering factors like international and domestic prices, exchange rates, and inventory levels.

Promotion of Balanced Fertilization

  • NBS endeavors to achieve an optimal nutrient balance (N:P:K = 4:2:1) in fertilization, thereby enhancing soil health and crop yields.

Implementation Authority

  • Administered by the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers since April 2010.

Rationale for Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS)

Efficient Resource Allocation

  • NBS ensures subsidies are allocated to farmers based on their specific nutrient requirements, encouraging judicious fertilizer use.

Optimal NPK Fertilization

  • By advocating for a balanced nutrient ratio (N:P:K = 4:2:1), NBS aims to improve soil health, resulting in augmented crop yields and farmer income.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

  • The policy supports environmentally sustainable practices by discouraging imbalanced fertilizer use, reducing soil degradation, and minimizing nutrient runoff.

Food Security

  • The availability of subsidized P&K fertilizers during the crucial Kharif season bolsters agricultural productivity, thus contributing to food security in India.

Long-Term Soil Health

  • NBS advocates for a holistic approach to soil management, addressing nutrient deficiencies and ensuring the enduring fertility of agricultural land.

Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) Rates Approval

Rabi Season 2022-23

  • Subsidy rates have been sanctioned for vital nutrients including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash, and Sulphur.

Kharif Season 2023

  • Approval granted for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) Fertilizers.

Objective of NBS Policy

Balanced Fertilization

  • Aims to achieve an optimal balance (N:P:K=4:2:1) to enhance soil health and crop yield.

Increased Income

  • Boosts farmers’ income through improved productivity.

Reducing Subsidy Burden

  • Expects rational fertilizer use to ease the subsidy burden on the government.

Significance of NBS Subsidy

Agricultural Support

  • Ensures affordable availability of DAP and other P&K fertilizers during Kharif for enhanced agricultural productivity.

Resource Allocation

  • Crucial for efficient allocation, directing subsidies where needed for sustainable agriculture.

Challenges with NBS Policy

Economic and Environmental Costs

  • High subsidy burden strains the economy, leading to imbalanced fertilizer use and environmental issues.

Black Marketing and Diversion

  • Subsidized urea faces illegal sale and smuggling to non-agricultural users.

Leakage and Misuse

  • Inefficient distribution can lead to fertilizer misuse or non-delivery to intended farmers.

Regional Disparities

  • A uniform policy may not cater to diverse regional needs, impacting nutrient application and productivity.

Way Forward for NBS Policy

Uniform Policy

  • A necessary step for essential nutrients (N, P, K) with considerations for regional variations.

Cash Subsidy Alternative

  • A long-term shift to a per-acre cash subsidy for flexible fertilizer purchase.

Balancing Act

  • Striking a balance between price control, affordability, and sustainable nutrient management is paramount for NBS success.


  • The recent endorsement of NBS rates for Rabi and Kharif seasons is a significant stride towards ensuring sustainable and prosperous agriculture in India. Balancing economic considerations, environmental concerns, and equitable distribution is crucial for the policy’s effectiveness and long-term success. By fostering judicious fertilizer use, NBS stands as a cornerstone in the path towards a thriving agricultural sector.

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Recent Approval of Nutrient-Based Subsidy Rates for Rabi and Kharif Seasons (2022-23): A Balanced Approach for Agricultural Prosperity | Vaid ICS Institute