Despite the Punjab government’s initial reluctance to accept the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode for payment of the minimum support price (MSP), the process provides rich dividends for millions of farmers in the state.
In the first few days of online transfer of MSP for wheat purchased by Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Center has transferred an amount of Rs 13.71 crore, benefitting around 1.6 lakh farmers in Punjab. The Center had been trying to implement the DBT process since 2015-2016, but this year only worked to achieve this despite stiff resistance from the arrangements (commission agents) and the Punjab government. The Punjab government was the root of the traditional Arathia-based payment system for farmers. Even in the last attempt before the procurement process, the Punjab government sought a waiver from the Center, which was rejected.
In Punjab, the procurement process started from April 10, while in Haryana it started from April 1. The procurement process begins in 11 states and two union territories in Haryana, where wheat procurement is done at MSP (at the rate of Rs. 1,975 per quintal this year).
Against the national target of 427.36 lakh tonnes, 81.64 lakh tonnes of wheat has been purchased. FCI will purchase a maximum of 135 lakh tonnes from Madhya Pradesh and 130 lakh tonnes from Punjab. According to data released by FCI, central government agencies have procured 18.24 lakh tonnes of wheat from Punjab and 36.30 lakh tonnes from Haryana during the current Rabi season till April 15.
Giving details, Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “One Nation, One MSP, One DBT, the farmer of Punjab is the happiest he has spent his 15 years as a farmer, because he got MSP for his crop. DBT is found in the form. Is working hard to ensure the happiness of crores of farmers of Punjab and India. (Sic). ”
He said that at least 1,64,455 farmers of Punjab have benefited from DBT.
But in an election year, the Punjab government also did not want to oppose the Aarthis. The Punjab government has changed the software for payment, which will also enable farmers to keep track of payments being made. But ultimately the money will be directly transferred to the account of the farmer.