India is concerned about the political turmoil in Libya and Syria as unstable situations in there are posing serious problems for the Indian economy, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.
"We are concerned about what is happening in Libya and Syria," Mukherjee said at a programme organised by industry body Assocham.
He said following the crisis in the two countries, India's quantum of subsidy on fertilizers had increased significantly as the country had to import phosphatic (P) and potassic (K) fertilizers entirely.
"The crisis in Libya and Syria pose a serious problem to the Indian farmers because of non-availability of phosphatic and potassic fertilizers and to the finance minister of India because of the subsidy bill hopping up from Rs.40,000 crore to Rs.90,000 crore," Mukherjee said.
The subsidy bill of P&K fertilizers alone is touching Rs.52,000 crore with the overall subsidy bill of Rs.90,000 crore this fiscal.
"Therefore, we simply cannot ignore the fact that what is happening in Libya is not merely the concern of... people belonging to that country. I am directly impacted because these fertilizers are not produced in India. We have to import these totally," the finance minister said.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recently approved a proposal of the department of fertilizer to reduce subsidy on P&K fertilizers under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) policy.
The reduction in P&K fertilizers subsidy is expected to bring down the government's total subsidy bill by 20 percent this fiscal.
(Source: The Times of India)