(MENAFN- IANS) Chandigarh, Sep 21 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday sought the intervention of Governor Banwarilal Purohit for flagging up the issue of stalled Rural Development Fund (RDF) of Rs 5,637 crore with the President and the Prime Minister.
In a letter to the Governor, Mann recalled that Punjab is a major contributor of foodgrains to the central pool to ensure food security of the nation.
The Chief Minister said the procurement of foodgrains is made by the state for and on behalf of the Government of India and all foodgrains procured under the Central pool are handed over to the Government of India as per their requirement.
He said as such the state through its agencies is acting as an agent of the Government of India.
The Chief Minister said as a principle all procurement cost incurred on procurement of foodgrains is to be reimbursed by the Department of Food and Public Distribution of the Central government.
However, he said in the provisional cost sheet of Kharif Marketing Season of 2020-21, the Government of India has not reimbursed Rural Development Fund for want of some clarification.
Subsequently, Mann said after the discussions the state government submitted all clarification as sought by the Department of Food and Public Distribution and also amended the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, as per the directions of Government of India.
The Chief Minister said accordingly the withheld amount of Rural Development Fee up to 2021-22 was released by the Government of India. However, he said from 2021-22 onwards the department has stopped allowance of Rural Development Fees in spite of making amendment in Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987.
Mann said that Rural Development Fees at the rate of three per cent of the minimum support price (MSP) is payable to the Punjab Rural Development Board.
The Chief Minister said all expenditures are made as per the provisions of the Act and all heads of expenditures are basically for rural, agriculture and related issues.
He said these ultimately affect the agricultural growth and facilitate the farmers in increasing their livelihood which leads to increase in efficiency of procurement centres.
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