A massive subsidy of Rs 7,080.58 crore out of a total of Rs 38,200 crore meant for sale of indigenous urea was routed by the government through the cooperative giant Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) in the year 2015-16, response to an RTI query has revealed.
According to the response given by the Department of Fertilisers, Government of India, the other cooperative that sells fertilisers, Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited (KRIBHCO) ranks second for the subsidy received for indigenous urea. A total of Rs 2,935 crore was routed through KRIBHCO as subsidy.
RTI activist Subhash Aggarwal, who had made the RTI query, said it was unfair that IFFCO and KRIBHCO, despite routing such huge amounts of money as subsidy, did not fall under the RTI Act. “It is unfair that units acting as routes for such huge subsidy and which are also profiteering are not accountable to public,” Aggarwal said.
He said in the light of alleged scam in IFFCO wherein it allegedly gifted its executives prime properties worth hundreds of crores in Delhi, the Central government should declare all cooperative registered under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act to be covered under the RTI Act.
The Delhi High Court had, in 2015, ruled that IFFCO does not fall under the RTI Act as it has no government equity and is not a 'public authority' under Section 2(h) of the Act. The Supreme Court had also concluded that cooperative societies do not come under the RTI Act.