Tuesday, November 29, 2022

HomeNewsFarmers ProtestCentre, state faceoff over direct payment to farmers

Centre, state faceoff over direct payment to farmers

The Punjab Government and Centre are heading for a face-off on the issue of making direct payment to farmers for the upcoming rabi marketing season.

Even as the issue remains unresolved, the arhtiyas, through whom the payments are traditionally made to farmers, have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from April 1. While the Centre is insistent that the payment for purchase of wheat crop from the farmers will be made directly to them through an electronic transfer into their bank accounts, the state government wants that the payments be made in the accounts of the arhtiyas who in turn will transfer this payment into the farmers’ bank accounts with each payment being recorded in the Public Finance Management System.

A meeting to sort out the issue was held between officers of the state government and the Centre in Delhi in the evening today, but the stalemate continues with both sides refusing to budge. Official sources have told The Tribune that a subsequent meeting to try and resolve the issue would again be held later this week.

Punjab Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu told The Tribune that they have pleaded with the Centre that direct payment to farmers should be optional. “Farmers themselves do not want the direct payment and are okay with the payment coming to them through the arhtiyas. Just as in the case of Haryana, Punjab should be allowed to make it optional,” he said.

This year, Rs 24,400 crore is estimated to be transferred to farmers in the state for purchase of 132 lakh tonnes of wheat. Officials in the state government say that restricting the role of arhtiyas could create multiple problems in a well-established procurement and mandi system.

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