New Delhi, June 27: Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday acceded to the request of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to hold a joint meeting with the Union Finance Minister to resolve the Rs 31000 crore food account loan legacy issue.
Paswan agreed to organise the meeting after the Union Budget session, an official spokesperson said after Captain Amarinder Singh called on the Minister here this afternoon.
The Union Minister has also agreed to allow Punjab to create additional storage space to enable the state to address the problem of acute shortage of storage space in this Rabi season. Modalities for the same will soon be worked out, said the spokesperson.
Captain Amarinder also succeeded in securing relaxation in lustre loss in wheat, resulting from the unseasonal heavy rains that lashed the state during the season.
During his meeting, the Chief Minister pointed out the Rs 31000 crore food loan legacy issue, inherited from the previous government, had already been referred to a special committee headed by Member NITI Aayog Ramesh Chand, who is also the Member of 15th Finance Commission. The Committee had been mandated to look into all aspects of the Legacy Debt of Punjab government arising out of accumulated CCL (Food Credit Gap) with reference to Food Corporation of India/Department of Food and Public Distribution. The Chief Minister sought Paswan’s personal intervention to expedite the matter.
With regard to lustre loss, Captain Amarinder informed the Union Food Minister that Government of India had only allowed relaxation in for nine districts with effect from 8th May 2019, by when bulk of the purchase had been completed in the state. The state had sought relaxation, through a letter to GoI on April 26, 2019, for the entire quantity of wheat purchased during the season across the state, and should be given relaxation w.e.f April 26, when it first sought FCI inspection.
Expressing concern over slow movement of stocks, the Chief Minister told Paswan that the state government was grappling with acute shortage of storage space for foodgrain. He mentioned that state agencies were currently stocking 160 Lakh MT of wheat and 107 Lakh MT of rice, while 96 Lakh MT of wheat was lying in the open, while 10.5 Lakh MT of wheat purchased more than a year ago was still being stocked in the open. As a result of slow movement of food grains from the state, the state would face a major challenge for scientific storage of wheat next year, he added.
Referring to withholding of reimbursement of arhtiya charges and administrative charges, the Chief Minister urged Paswan to immediately release these charges to the state. These charges were paid to the arhtiyas as per provisions of the Punjab State Agriculture Produce Markets Act, 1961 and administrative charges were used for maintenance of stocks as well as payment of salaries and other establishment expenses, said Captain Amarinder.
GoI had withheld these charges on account of the failure of the state to implement the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), which allows the Central Government to see online the transfer of MSP payments into the bank accounts of the farmer. However, the Chief Minister pointed out that the state had already uploaded details of 6 Lakh of the more than 10 Lakh farmers and was committed to implementing PFMS. But it was a time consuming exercise and more than 20,000 arhtiyas were required to be trained on PFMS module as payments are routed through the arhtiyas, he said, adding that even Haryana had not yet implemented PFMS.
On the issue of withholding of custody & maintenance charges, the Chief Minister requested Paswan to immediately reimburse these charges to the state on the basis of actual expenditure incurred. He pointed out that Rs. 750 crore has been withheld on account of storage of wheat in Open Plinths after 2007, even though the charges were being paid earlier. Similarly, the state also incurred an expenditure of Rs. 608 crore on custody and maintenance charges. Against this, GoI provisionally released Rs. 300 crore and the balance was held back due to a clarification that has to be issued by it.
Prominent amongst other who accompanied the Chief Minister were Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, MPs Preneet Kaur, Santokh Chaudhry and Gurjit Aujla, CM's Principal Secretary Tejveer Singh and Special Principal Secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh.
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Most shared Punjab Today articles:
KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI
Three Women of 1984
FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?
REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE
KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM
If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?
Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt
Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal
Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?
In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart
WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron
"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship
The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!
WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed
AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER
OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA
TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE
OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES
Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN!
MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT