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India to Wage “Atmanirbhar” Masterstroke through New Urea Capacities

  • 13-Jul-2020 9:00 AM
  • Journalist: Timothy Greene

After recent rifts between India and China in the Galvam valley face-off, the Indian government is all set to reduce its import dependency on China by strongly promoting its strategy for Atmanirbhar Bharat. The first boost to the country’s self-reliance is said to be in the Urea sector with the scheduled commissioning of four new Urea plants in the country before FY21. In addition, a fifth plant is slated to come onstream by 2023, for which the technological execution contract has been awarded to a Chinese Wuhan-based engineering firm. By volume, Urea imports in India stood at 11 million tonnes with China’s share worth 2.9 million tonnes as of FY20.  One of the five plants located in Ramagundam in Telangana is expected to commence operations by October this year. The plant has been put up by Ramagundam Fertilisers & Chemicals – a joint venture of National Fertilisers (NFL), Engineers India and Fertilisers Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL). Out of the other four, three will be fully operational before the rabi season 2021. All these four units will be using Natural gas as the feedstock however, the fifth unit, Talcher, which is envisaged to turn operational by 2023, is a coal gasification-based Ammonia-Urea complex whose technology is Chinese. In a recent interview by one of the government officials it was mentioned that the upcoming five urea units are of 1.7 MTPA production capacity each. The government envisions that once they and three others which are currently non-operational are functional, the country will become self-sufficient in Urea by 2023-24. However, the critics of Atmanirbhar Bharat believe that domestically produced Urea will be much costlier than the imported one.

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