ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Infertile Lobby

Dipak B R Chaudhuri IT was on a Sunday morning last winter that the idea of a 'Fertiliser Promotion Council' was scotched on the advice of Cabinet Secretary T Swamina- than, who the evening before had finally consulted a few public sector technologists. Though not formally rejected, the proposal has been effectively shelved. What seems to have weighed heavily in the decision is the history and record of another such body, viz, the Fertiliser Association of India. The idea of a 'Fertiliser Promotion Council' had its origins in the recommendation of the Sivaraman Committee in 1965 for a 'National Fertiliser Promotion Corporation' to work on sales promotion and farmer education. The idea was develped later, envisaging a statutory board or council on a registered society basis. It was thought that Government must play a role in the distribution of fertilisers because of its responsibilities for increasing agricultural production and for seeing that there is social justice in economic development. The Fertiliser Committee in its report in 1965 thus spelt out three responsibilities : first, to carry the message of balanced fertiliser application to all parts of the country; secondly, to guarantee supply of fertilisers at fair prices, and thirdly, to build up a good fertiliser distribution system in the remotest corners of the country by acti- vising the credit sector. Government would have a special role to play because sales promotion activities of Pri- vate manufacturers would aim to boost the merits and sales of brand products. This would be to the detriment of balanced fertilisation. The Sivaraman Committee, therefore, felt it necessary to entrust basic promotion to a special representative agency that would supplement the work of the existing official agencies.

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