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Congress credits Capt Amarinder Singh for ‘helping farmers in grain procurement’ but forgets to thank Centre for its contribution

This is the first time that the farmers from Punjab are receiving direct online payments for their produce at the determined MSP and at least 1,64,455 farmers from Punjab have been able to benefit from the DBT scheme.

The wheat procurement in Punjab though delayed due to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, is set to take place till May 30. The procurement agencies and FCI have decided to purchase the crop at Rs 1,975 per quintal in the current rabi season, payment for which is being directly transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers.

Claiming full credit for the success of the ongoing procurement process, the Congress congratulated its Punjab Chief Minister for the same through a video from the official party handle.

Here’s what the video says

The video that claims to have brought back the smiles on farmers’ faces, cites quick procurement as the reason. As per the video, the Punjab government has procured 46.60LMT of wheat in just seven days at the set MSP. The video also shares that to ease the procurement process amidst the second wave, the government has added over 2000 new procurement centres in the state which are operational from 10 am to 6 pm. The video ends with talking about the safety measures and precautions being taken by the state government for the farmers who arrive at the procurement centres and the staff.

However, it is imperative to note that Captain Amarinder Singh’s government missed thanking the Centre for Direct Bank Transfers (DBT) which is the actual reason for farmers’ happiness.

Punjab farmers happy with Direct Benefit Transfers

This is the first time that the farmers from Punjab are receiving direct online payments for their produce at the determined MSP and at least 1,64,455 farmers from Punjab have been able to benefit from the DBT scheme.

This was possible after the central government refused to extend the deadline to implement the DBT process just ahead of the procurement after the state sought yet another exemption. The Centre had been pursuing the Punjab government since 2016-16 to get the state to implement direct online payment into farmers’ accounts. However, the state had been routinely approaching the Centre for granting exemption and extension of time. 

Punjab government had faced resistance from the arthiyas for the implementation of DBT before the onset of the procurement season. Not wanting to antagonize the arhtiyas close to the state elections, the state government gave in to their demands and urged the Centre was another extension. 

On being declined, the Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the government had no option, but to transfer the minimum support price (MSP) amount for the procurement directly to the bank accounts of farmers in the current rabi season.

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey informed that till date Rs 13.71 crores have been transferred directly and successfully into the accounts of farmers in Punjab.

“We are now transferring in Punjab the MSP amount directly to farmers’ accounts which has been possible with the cooperation of the state government and ‘arthiyas’, who are a very important stakeholder. They will get their respective commission due under the APMC Act and rules into their accounts,” added Pandey assuring the arthiyas of the state.

Dalip Kumar of Nilpur village near Rajpura, said his happiness knew no bounds when he received two text messages from his bank announcing the credit of Rs 1.90 lakh and Rs 1.48 lakh into his account as the minimum support price (MSP) of 171 quintals of wheat that he sold in Rajpura mandi.

Dalip in an interview to the Indian Express claimed, “This is the best system. What could be better than getting payment for our crop in our account?” The news was shared by Union Minister Piyush Goyal as well.

Procurement by the Punjab government and Centre

The responsibility for the procurement of foodgrains that are eligible for MSP lies with four state agencies and the Centre’s FCI in Punjab. The Punjab government also purchases wheat and rice at MSP on behalf of the central government under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The Centre in the RMS 2021-22 season is hoping to procure 427 LMT of wheat this season, the highest ever in the country. This includes purchasing 130 LMT from Punjab. As per the data released by FCI, the Central government agencies have procured 18.24 LMT of wheat from Punjab. 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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