Chandigarh, April 13
In a bid to strengthen overall rural infrastructure and put in place the advanced procurement system to the farmers, the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Punjab Rural Development (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022.
This decision was taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann here at Chief Minister Office.
Resultantly, the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987 has been amended in line with the revised principles laid down by the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India on February 24, 2020.
It may be recalled that the GoI vide its letter dated October 23, 2020 sent the Provisional Cost Sheet (PCS) for Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-wherein it does not account for statutory dues of Rural Development Fund (RDF) calculated at 3 per cent of MSP, however the PCS provides as “Matters related to deductions from MSP made by State & utilization of RD Fee for the purpose of development of procurement centre is under scrutiny.”
According to a spokesperson of the CMO, the RDF shall be spent for the purposes/activities including; construction or repair of approach roads to mandis/procurement centres and street lights thereon enabling farmers in transportation of their produce, construction/development of new mandis/procurement centers and development of old/kuchha mandis/procurement centres.
The spokesperson also added for making arrangements for supply of drinking water and for improving sanitation in the mandis/procurement centres, for providing well equipped rest houses/night shelters/sheds for farmers and labour engaged in procurement operations.
Likewise, RDF would also be spent for augmenting storage facilities in mandis to store procured stocks so as to strengthen the procurement and marketing systems in the state, to provide relief to debt stressed farmers of the state, to eliminate any possibility of distress sale, development of hardware/software related to procurement/linking of land records, crop survey, bio- authentication of farmers at the mandi/state-level which may improve transparency and facilitate the procurement activities.
The spokesperson also added installation/purchase of computerized electronic weighbridge/weighment facilities/quality testing equipment’s/sieving facilities in the mandi/procurement centres and its integration with e-procurement module, for automation and mechanisation of mandis with facility of cleaning, sorting, drying, analyzing quality of grains, small shipping silo, bag sacking and stitching and for carrying out such purposes which may lead to strengthening of mandis/procurement operations.