Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Thursday mentioned the state authorities has “no choice” however to implement the Centre’s mandated instruction on direct bank transfer of MSP to farmers from the present season.
Badal, after a prolonged dialogue with Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal on this challenge, mentioned the Centre rejected the state authorities’s demand to give extra time to implement direct bank transfer (DBT) of minimal help value (MSP) to farmers.
The Punjab Chief Minister has referred to as a gathering with ‘arthiyas’ (fee brokers) on Friday to talk about a few new mechanism forward of wheat procurement that may begin from April 10.
Punjab procures wheat and rice at MSP on behalf of the central authorities below the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Currently, MSP to farmers in Punjab is paid by way of arthiyas in contrast to immediately to farmers’ bank account in different states.
“The Government of India (GoI) had asked us to implement the DBT for farmers. We had sought more time because in Punjab there is a traditional arthiyas system….. But the GoI dismissed our demand. We tried a lot but they did not listen,” Badal advised reporters after 2.30 hours of assembly.
The state authorities has “no other choice” however to implement the DBT for farmers from the present season itself and a brand new mechanism will likely be labored out, he mentioned.
Citing causes for rejecting Punjab’s demand, Badal mentioned the central authorities was arguing that the meals inventory procured belongs to it and the state authorities is simply an agent and may make fee immediately to farmers.
Arthiyas a standard system: Punjab govt argues with Centre
“But arthiyas are traditional system and one needs to understand this. It is difficult to unravel this system….. We will come out with a mechanism,” he added.
Besides Badal, Punjab Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla and Mandi Board Chairman S Laal Sing had been current within the assembly.
Senior officers from Union Food and Agriculture Ministries had been additionally current.
The Punjab Food Minister mentioned, “Tomorrow, we will meet arthiyas and take them into the loop. We will develop a mechanism that will give some protection to arthiyas. The CM has kept a meeting with arthiyas tomorrow.”
From April 10, wheat procurement will begin and each grain will likely be bought, he mentioned, and added, “The payment will go directly into the (bank) account of farmers.”
Speaking to PTI, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey mentioned, “Punjab ministers in the meeting agreed to implement the DBT for farmers from this season. Currently, MSP payment is routed through arthiyas. We are asking them to pay directly to farmers.”
State governments had been requested to implement DBT to farmers in 2018. By 2019, virtually all states began implementing it apart from Punjab, he mentioned.
Among different points, the Punjab Finance Minister mentioned the Centre has agreed to defer implementation of land data integration (required to monitor land possession of farmers throughout procurement) by six months.
‘GOI not pleased with our rationalization…’
On launch of pending rural growth Fund (RDF) to state authorities, the minister mentioned about 3 per cent RDF is mounted for Punjab. The state is getting just one per cent and relaxation two per cent is pending.
“GoI is not happy with the justification given by us. They assured that GoI will release arrear of two per cent fee if the state government gives a credible justification on where the funds have been spent,” he mentioned.
The Punjab Finance Minister within the assembly raised concern about piling inventory of foodgrains within the state and requested for an early liquidation so that there’s house for the brand new crop.
“GoI has given assurance that it will take foodgrains stock out of Punjab,” he mentioned and added the Centre has additionally assured it would launch the dues value Rs 15,000 crore earliest to the state.
The minister additionally knowledgeable the Centre that the state will implement the distribution of fortified rice by way of Public Distribution System and welfare schemes like Midday Meal Scheme.
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