Centre refuses DBT exemption to Punjab

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Punjab farmers are all set to get direct payment for their crop this procurement season after the Centre on Thursday rejected the state’s demand for continuation of payment through arhtiyas and exemption from the direct benefit transfer (DBT) system.

The Centre, however, agreed to give the state six-month extension to integrate land records with the national e-procurement portal.After a two-hour meeting with Food Minister Piyush Goyal today, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said the state had no choice but to adopt the DBT system as the Centre declined to give exemption.State Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said: “Direct online payment will be made to the farmers. We will take arhtiyas into the loop. The Chief Minister has called them for a meeting tomorrow.”

Left with no choice

The Centre argues that the food stocks belong to it and the state is just an agent. We have no other choice. We will find a mechanism to ensure some protection to arhtiyas. —Manpreet Badal, Punjab Finance Minister

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