Ananth Ku­mar

MIN­IS­TER FOR CHEM­I­CALS AND FERTILISERS

India Today - - 30 YEARS OF MODI GOVERNMENT | MANUFACTURING - —M.G. Arun

FER­TILISER SUB­SIDY AR­REARS OF around Rs 35,000 crore (by March 2017) have been the big­gest chal­lenge for Ananth Ku­mar. With the gov­ern­ment de­lay­ing pay­ment, the in­dus­try has to bear about Rs 4,000 crore an­nu­ally as in­ter­est cost. Ku­mar has writ­ten to the fi­nance min­is­ter for spe­cial bank­ing ar­range­ment of Rs 20,000 crore to clear old dues. On the plus side is the plen­ti­ful avail­abil­ity of urea, with the coun­try fast be­com­ing self-reliant on this front. In­ter-min­is­te­rial meet­ings have also been held to re­vive ail­ing fer­tiliser units, and adding 75 lakh tonne of ad­di­tional an­nual pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity. In phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the de­ci­sion to open 3,000 med­i­cal stores un­der the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yo­jana to make generic medicines avail­able is a wel­come step. How­ever, the prime min­is­ter’s call for doc­tors to pre­scribe generic medicines rather than branded ones (90 per cent of the drugs mar­ket) has caused alarm in the in­dus­try.

YASBANT NEGI

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