5th June, 2021
The Central Government has not given Rural Development Fund (RDF) to the Punjab Government for the second consecutive crop. Earlier in the paddy season of October 2020 also, the central government had deducted the rural development fund saying where it has been spent, first, the state government should give full information about it.
In the Rabi season, this year 132 lakh tonnes of wheat have been procured in Punjab. In this again the Rural Development Fund has been reduced to zero. The Central Government has said that the information about the expenditure of the Rural Development Fund was sought from the State Government, but it has not been received yet.
Let us tell you, three percent mandi fee, three percent rural development fund and two and a half percent brokerage is levied on the crops sold in the mandis of Punjab. Whenever the Central Government procures crops from the states through their procurement agencies, it sends a provisional cast sheet of how much amount will be given for which expenditure. Now the Ministry of Food and Supplies has released this cast sheet which contains two important things.
First, RDF has been shown as zero, which is three per cent for the state. Second, the commission of arhtiyas has been fixed at Rs 46. Now it will not get 2.5 percent on MSP, but will be available at Rs 46 per quintal. The MSP of wheat procured this year was Rs 1975, on which Rs 46 has been given to the arhtiyas. It has become 2.32 percent, not 2.5 percent.
This was done in the last paddy season also, which was opposed by the arhtiyas, but the central government made it clear that the aadhat cannot be linked to the minimum support price. MSP is only for farmers. Along with this, the central government has also made the payment in the wheat season directly to the farmers' account, not through arhtiyas.
Manpreet had raised the matter with the Union Minister
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan had also raised the issue of non-disbursement of Rural Development Fund with Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Piyush Goyal was adamant that the Center will not release the Rural Development Fund until the Punjab government explains where the money has been spent. However, later he released one percent fund, but this time even one percent has not been mentioned in the issued cast sheet. Rather it has been clearly said that the state government has not sent the information yet.