Daily Editorial Analysis for 22nd May 2021

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Editorial Analysis May 2021
  4. »
  5. Daily Editorial Analysis for 22nd May 2021

Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP)

Why in News

  • The government has announced a 137% increase in the subsidy on di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), from Rs 511.55 to Rs 1,211.55 per 50-kg bag.

About di-ammonium phosphate (DAP)

  • DAP is the second most commonly used fertilizer in India, with its sales of 13 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2020-21 next only to the 350.42 lt of urea.
  • Farmers normally apply this fertilizer just before or at the time of sowing, as it is high in phosphorus (P) that stimulates root establishment and development – without which plants cannot grow to their normal size or will take too long to mature.
  • DAP contains 46% P and 18% nitrogen (N).
  • There are other phosphatic fertilizers also like Single Super Phosphate (SSP) has 16% P and 11% Sulphur (S).
  • But DAP is the farmer’s preferred choice as it is similar to urea and muriate of potash (MOP), which again have very high N and potassium (K) content of 46% and 60%, respectively.

Subsidy scheme in DAP

  • The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of urea is currently fixed at Rs 5,378 per tonne or Rs 242 for a 45-kg bag.
  • The MRPs of all other fertilizers, by contrast, are decontrolled and decided by the companies themselves.
  • The government only gives a fixed per-tonne subsidy. In other words, the subsidy is fixed, while the MRPs are variable.
  • These fertilisers attract Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS), whose rates vary across nutrients.
  • For 2020-21, the Centre fixed the NBS rates at Rs 18.789/kg for N, Rs 14.888/kg for P, Rs 10.116/kg for K and Rs 2.374/kg for S. Therefore, depending on the nutrient content in different fertilisers, the per-tonne subsidy varies.
  • Since one tonne of DAP contains 460 kg of P and 180 kg of N, the corresponding subsidy worked out to Rs 10,231 (6,848.48 plus 3,382.02).
  • Likewise, the subsidy on MOP (60% K) was Rs 6,070 per tonne, while Rs 2,643/tonne for SSP and Rs 8,380/tonne for the popular ‘10:26:26’ NPK fertiliser.

Dispute over DAP

  • The DAP subsidy was Rs 10,231 per tonne or Rs 511.50 on a bag of 50 kg.
  • Most companies were selling this fertiliser to farmers at around Rs 24,000 per tonne or Rs 1,200/bag.
  • They could do it when international prices of both the final product and the imported raw materials/ingredients such as rock phosphate, Sulphur, phosphoric acid and ammonia were at reasonable levels.
  • Landed prices of DAP in India were below $400 per tonne or Rs 29,000 till October.
  • Adding 5% customs duty and another Rs 3,500 towards port handling, bagging, warehousing, interest, trade margins and other costs took it to about Rs 34,000 per tonne.
  • But global prices have surged over the past 6-7 months, tracking the general bull run in commodities. Since October, the average import prices of DAP have risen from $395 to $570/tonne, while shooting up from $275 to $365 for urea, $230 to $280 for MOP, $280 to $550 for ammonia and $85 to $210 for Sulphur. That made it unviable for companies to sell at the old rates.

Raised MRP of DAP

  • The price of DAP steeply raised MRPs. That included the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO), which announced a hike in its MRP of DAP.
  • These hikes were effective from April 1. Since non-urea fertilisers are decontrolled, nothing technically stopped them from do so.
  • As the old stocks started running out, the companies began selling the new material at the higher rates.
  • April being a lean month, the extent of price increase did not really dawn upon anybody, farmers included — until home purchases for ensuing kharif planting season started picking up from mid-May.
  • The focus naturally fell on DAP; having to pay an extra Rs 700/bag — on top of Rs 21-22 per litre increase for diesel since April 2020 – was obviously too much.

Government Steps

  • The Department of Fertilisers had notified the NBS rates for 2021-22 on 9th
  • Despite international prices soaring, these were kept unchanged from last year’s levels. It left companies with little choice but to go ahead with the MRP hikes.
  • As the implications of that became clear, Prime Minister chaired a meeting recently, following which a “historic decision” was taken to more than double the subsidy on DAP from the existing Rs 10,231 to Rs 24,231 per tonne.
  • The Department of Fertilisers has further notified a higher per-kg NBS rate for P (Rs 45.323, as against the earlier Rs 14.888), even while not increasing these for the other three nutrients (N, K and S). This will enable companies to sell DAP to sell at the earlier MRP.
  • They may not be able to do so for other non-urea fertilisers, be it MOP, SSP or complexes containing N, K and S. In the case of MOP, the retail prices were raised from an average of Rs 850 to Rs 1,000/bag in February itself.
  • With the subsidy remaining at Rs 303.5/bag, there’s unlikely to be any rollback.


  • For now, though, DAP prices not going up is good news, as farmers get ready for sowing operations with the arrival of the southwest monsoon rains.
  • A revival of farmer protests, in the midst of Covid-19’s second wave, is the last thing the government would want.


2-DG for Covid-19 treatment: The benefits and concerns

Why in News

  • 2-DG, a new investigational drug, has got emergency use authorization from the Indian drug regulator for use in Covid-19.
  • Developers claim the drug can inhibit viral replication, but doctors are divided in opinion.

About 2-DG

  • The drug 2-Deoxy-d-Glucose (2-DG), has been historically tested as a cancer drug that inhibits glycolysis — the process by which cells break down glucose.
  • The drug 2-DG stops glucose supply to the cells, which then start dying.
  • It is used as a cancer drug as it works by preventing supply of glucose to cancerous cells.
  • Glycolysis helps viruses to get energy to replicate and spread. Therefore, disrupting this can help in lowering viral replication.
  • The idea behind using it in Covid-19 is that along with other anti-viral, 2-DG can help prevent replication of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in inflamed lung cells of Covid-19 patients.

Development of 2-DG

  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) has conducted clinical trials with the Institute of Nuclear Medicine
  • & Allied Sciences, a Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) arm.
  • It was tested on 110 patients in phase 2 and 220 patients in phase 3 trials.
  • The drug got emergency use authorisation (EUA) in May for use in Covid-19 patients.
  • 2-DG also works on virus infection spread into lungs, and thereby helps reduce the patients’ dependence on oxygen.
  • Recovery was 2-3 days faster for Covid patients who were put on 2-DG.
  • Phase 3 data showed that by day 3, freedom from oxygen dependence was seen in 41 per cent patients on 2-DG as against 31 per cent patients in standard of care (SoC).
  • SoC is a treatment guideline that can be general or specific.

2-DG as a Wonder Drug

  • The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from Covid-19.
  • According to clinical data for efficacy trends, the patients treated with the 2-DG drug showed faster symptomatic cure than SoC on various endpoints.
  • A significantly higher proportion of patients improved symptomatically and became free from supplemental oxygen dependence (42 per cent vs 31 per cent) by day-3 in comparison to SoC.
  • 2-DG accumulates in the virus-infect cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production.
  • Its selective accumulation in virally-infected cells make this drug unique.
  • Phase 3 clinical trials of this drug was done on a very small sample of 220 patients in 27 hospitals across India between November 2020 and March this year.
  • The results are “non-significant” compared to the control arm of standard Covid care.
  • The study protocol of 2DG for Covid excluded diabetics, those with coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease etc.
  • Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the blood sugar (glucose) level is lower than normal, is a side effect of this drug.

Cost of 2-DG

  • 2-DG has not yet been launched in the market, and the price per sachet has not been announced.
  • The drug comes in a powder form, which has to be mixed with water and then consumed.
  • Commercial launch and supply to major government and private hospitals is expected in mid-June.
  • It has also warned patients against procuring spurious versions of the drug.

Current Affairs

Recent Posts