Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday announced a pilot project for providing subsidy on fertilizer directly to farmers, instead of giving it to firms.

Mr. Chidambaram said: "While fertilizers should indeed be subsidised, we must find an alternative method of delivering the subsidy directly to the farmer."

Stating that the fertilizer industry had agreed to work with the Department of Fertilizers to conduct a study and find a solution to the matter, the Minister said the Government would implement a pilot programme in at least one district in each State in 2007-08. Mr. Chidambaram also increased fertilizer subsidies from Rs.17,253 crore to Rs. 22,452 crore.