Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 16
The government agencies have procured 18,24,310 tonnes (18.24 lakh tonnes) of wheat from Punjab and 36,30,790 tonnes (36.30 lakh tonnes) from Haryana in the ongoing Rabi Marketing Season till April 15.
From the country on the whole, 81,63,669 tonnes (81.64 lakh tonnes) has been procured at an MSP of Rs 1,975 per quintal, against an estimated target of 427.36 lakh tonnes this year. From Chandigarh, 5650 tonnes have been procured, according to the FCI data.
This is the first time the farmers from Punjab and Haryana are receiving direct online MSP payment of their produce.
The Centre has been pursuing with the two state governments for ensuring direct online payment into farmers’ accounts since 2015-16. However, they had been “routinely approaching the Centre for granting exemption and seeking time”.
Just ahead of procurement, Punjab had sought yet another exemption, which was rejected by the Centre.
Till date Rs 13.71 crores and Rs 735 crores has been transferred into the accounts of farmers in Punjab and Haryana, respectively. Normally there is a lag of 2-3 days in transfer of money, officials said, adding that procurement in Punjab started on April 10, and picked up in last two days (after Baisakhi), while in Haryana it has been going on since April 1.
With Punjab and Haryana on board, the entire country is now covered under Direct Benefit Transfer of MSP under the theme of “One Nation, One MSP, One DBT”, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said.
Till date Rs 13.71 crores and Rs 735 crores has been transferred into the accounts of farmers in Punjab and Haryana, respectively. Normally there is a lag of 2-3 days in transfer of money, officials said.
Dismissing observations of procurement “going slow” in Punjab, Pandey said procurement and transferring of the MSP amount is going smoothly in the state.
“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.
“There is no stakeholder interest clash or encroachment in Punjab. ‘Arhtiyas’ will receive their commission separately through the e-mode of payment. Earlier, the MSP was going to farmers via ‘arhtiya’ and now it is being directly transferred to farmers online,” he said, in response to reports about ‘arthiyas’ demanding “signed blank cheques from farmers to facilitate procurement”.
Pandey said the Centre is hoping to procure 427 LMT this season, the highest ever in the country. This includes 130 LMT from Punjab and 80 LMT from Haryana, states where farmers have been at the forefront of the agitation against the three agriculture laws.
The leader of the group (of 11 states and two UTs, Chandigarh and J&K) will be Madhya Pradesh from where 135 LMT is expected to be procured. So far, the highest procurement has been reported from Haryana, he said, thanking the government and the ‘arthiyas’ of the state.
As per the data available with the FCI, the government agencies have procured 23.08 lakh tonnes of wheat from the farmers in Madhya Pradesh and 1.99 lakh tonnes in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, to ramp up storage infrastructure in India and increase storage capacity by 100 LMT, the government is launching a storage modernisation plan.
“By 2024-25, we will store our stocks in modern silos and phase out conventional godowns,” Pandey said.