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Punjab

Centre seeks justification for RDF; state says crucial for us

October 31, 2020 05:59 AM

COURTESY HT OCT 31

Centre seeks justification for RDF; state says crucial for us
State food and civil supplies department refers the question for legal opinion so as to send it to Union government

Gurpreet Singh Nibber

gurpreet.nibber@hindustantimes.com

Chandigarh : Punjab’s food and civil supplies department has referred the question of justifying the Rural Development Fund (RDF) of 3% of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) that it charges the Centre for procurement for legal opinion. After this, the state will send a justification to the Centre.

As per a provisional cost-sheet that the Centre had sent to Punjab last week, detailing the taxes and incidentals on paddy procurement for the current season, clearance has been given for dami (of Rs 46 per quintal) to commission agents (arhtiyas) and 3% mandi fee, but the RDF had been held back, with the state government asked to justify it. The state government charges RDF on purchase of wheat and paddy and hopes to earn Rs 1,100 crore this season, if its justification is accepted. In the previous wheat procurement season, the state had earned Rs 750 crore through RDF.

“We are sending a justification to the Centre’s food and public distribution ministry. RDF is a justified collection and is very important for our state,” said principal secretary finance, KAP Sinha, who also holds the charge of food and civil supplies.

“RDF is important for us, especially when revenues from all sources have shrunk due to the covid-19 pandemic. We hope that the Centre will accept our plea,” said food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

“The rural development and panchayats department depends on the RDF for development in 13,000 panchayats. We build village roads, sewage and water supply. The entire development in rural Punjab is due to the RDF,” said the minister in-charge Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa. Terming the Centre’s decision as “unfortunate”, CM Amarinder had questioned the timing of the Centre’s move. He had asked finance minister Manpreet Badal to meet the Union minister for consumer affairs to resolve the issue.

 

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