In his speech this year, the Indian finance minister announced that India would deliver the fertiliser subsidy directly to farmers from next year onwards. Shortly after the budget, the government’s National Informatics Centre insisted that it be allowed to develop the necessary software. A small update from the trenches here.
This software, sources in the fertiliser ministry told the Economic Times, will now be tested in selected districts of Rajasthan, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Haryana and either Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh. In Rajasthan and Orissa, the pilots will be conducted in Ajmer and Sambhalpur, respectively.
For context, see this story re larger changes in fertiliser policy. And see this story re the cash transfers themselves. India really seems to be rushing to implement cash transfers without sufficiently understanding how retailers and farmers will respond to them, or what cash transfers might mean for food security and rural livelihoods.
Will be very important to track these (and subsequent) pilots, methinks.