Government policy is to support balanced use of fertilizers to sustain soil health in the country.
The following steps are taken for the balanced use of fertilizers:
i. Nutrient Based Subsidy Policy, which has been implemented w.e.f. 1.4.2010, promotes competition amongst the fertilizer companies. The fertilizer companies tend to focus on farmers through farm extension services and educate farmers about the modern fertilizer application techniques, soil health and promote soil test based application of soil and crop specific fertilizers, which is necessary for balanced application of fertilizers.
ii. Use of customized fertilizers is encouraged with the objective to promote site specific nutrient management so as to achieve maximum fertilizer use efficiency of applied nutrient in a cost effective manner. These fertilizers are multi-nutrient carrier designed to contain macro and micro nutrients and are soil specific and crops specific formulated on the basis of soil testing results. The Government has also allowed the use of subsidized fertilizers for manufacturing mixture and customised fertilizers to promote use of customized fertilizers.
iii. Subsidy on sulphur content in the fertilizers is provided.
iv. To meet the requirement of micro nutrients, a fixed subsidy is also provided on fortification of fertilizers by Boron and Zinc. Use of Neem Coated Urea is also encouraged.
v. Soil test based balanced and integrated nutrient management through conjunctive use of both inorganic and organic sources (compost, manures, bio-fertilizers etc.) of plant nutrients is recommended to sustain sound soil health.
vi. Soil testing facility is provided to the farmers free of cost or with some nominal fee by State Governments. In this regard soil health cards are issued by the State Governments to farmers.
vii. A National Project for Management of Soil Health & Fertility has been launched during 2008-09. Under the project financial assistance is provided to set up new static Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) and new Mobile Soil Testing Laboratories besides strengthening of existing laboratories.
viii. Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS), Bhopal under ICAR has been sanctioned a project for preparation of Geo-Referenced Soil Fertility Maps including interlinking of soil fertility status with Soil Test Crop Response (STCR) data to generate site specific recommendations in 19 major States (171 districts).