Jun 20, 2022 08:00 pm
Punjab government has demanded the Centre today to release accruals and pending payments of ₹2,900 crore against food procurement.
The demand was put forward by the state government in a meeting with Centre’s secretary of food and public distribution Sudhanshu Pandey
The payment includes the 3% rural development fund over the total procurement expenditure of previous two seasons; rabi-2022 (wheat) and kharif-2021 (paddy). During 2021 kharif, a sum of ₹ 1,150 crore is pending to be recovered from the Centre and that of rabi 2022, at least ₹ 600 crore is pending.
Pandey reiterated the state government to amend rural development act and specify the usage of the accrual towards productive expenditure in the rural Punjab.
“We have assured the secretary that the act will be amended very shortly – probably in the upcoming budget session starting from June 24,” one of the senior officials of the food and civil supplies department, Punjab, said.
It needs mention that the provisional cost sheet received by the state department from the Centre’s ministry of food and public distribution is silent about the RDF.
The secretary was on a two-day visit to the state. He arrived Punjab on Sunday from Himachal Pradesh. Pandey also toured Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts on Sunday, where he visited a rice mill, fair price shop and an FCI storage depot.
The state food and civil supplies department also took up the issue of 2% market fee allowed by the Centre this time in the provisional cost sheet for the rabi marketing season. He was asked that the state has been charging 3% market fee and the Centre has been paying it for past several procurements.
“We also took up the issues of cut in labour charges and dami for the arhtiyas of the state,” said an officer of the state food department, adding that until 2020, the arhtiyas were given 2.5% dami which now has been rounded off to a fixed amount and it comes to a little over 2%.