Aadhaar must for farmers to get subsidized fertilizer

By Times Of India on 03 Jan 2018
PATNA: The Aadhaar number is a must for any farmer who wants to purchase chemical and fertilizer at subsidized rates from the retailers already registered and listed with the district agriculture office (DAO) concerned in the state. No other identification certificate will be valid.
The use of Aadhaar number of a purchasing farmer and the Point of Sale (POS) machine by the licensed retailer has been made mandatory for the sale and purchase of fertilizer at subsidized rate from January 1 (Monday) in the state.

"Any retailer without POS machine cannot sell fertilizer and a farmer without Aadhaar number cannot purchase it at the subsidized rate," agriculture department principal secretary Sudhir Kumar said. "In no case, the subsidy will be passed into the account of a farmer without Aadhaar number. It has to go to the fertilizer manufacturing company."

Additionally, even as the government has been allowing Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACSs) to sell fertilizer, many of the PACSs have resisted the use of POS machines by them. The state has around 8,463 PACSs with one in every panchayat. As far as the sale of fertilizer is concerned, the PACSs are being treated as any licensed retailer.

"Only the retailer who holds licence and is also registered with the DAO will be able to sell sacks of fertilizer to farmers at subsidized rate and it will be done through POS machines," said Kumar told TOI.

"Besides, the farmer will have to also go in person for the purchase of the fertilizer," Kumar added.

He also said the Aadhaar of the farmer concerned has to be fed into the POS machine and his fingerprint would also be taken before the transaction. "Both the Aadhaar number and the fingerprint of the farmer have to match for the transaction to start and complete," he insisted.

The principal secretary also said the subsidy payable on the fertilizer purchased would not be passed into the account of farmers. Instead, it would be passed onto the fertilizer manufacturing company through direct benefit transfer (DBT) method. "The farmer would only get fertilizer at the subsidized rate," he reiterated.

Kumar said the state has 24,300 licensed retailers of fertilizers and have also been listed by the DAOs concerned. Of them, 22,362 retailers have been provided with POS machines, and 1,938 are still to get it.

"The POS machines are available with the representatives of fertilizer companies in the state. Those who have not yet got the POS machines would be provided by them," he said, adding most of the remaining licensed retailers are the PACS bodies which have been resisting using the POS machines.