Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], July 20 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has urged Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan to restore the commission of the Arhtiyas to the statutory norm of 2.5 per cent of MSP, warning that any deviation from the existing policy could cause serious disruptions to the paddy procurement process.
Observing that the flat rate commission provided for Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) was contrary to the statutory norms of 2.5 per cent of MSP, Captain Amarinder has urged the Union Minister to accordingly amend the Provisional cost sheet for RMS 2020-21, issued by the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India. As per the cost sheet, the Arhtiya commission has been allowed at a flat rate of Rs 46 per quintal, which appears to be based on certain estimates of the actual expenditure incurred, he noted.
"Unrest is already brewing among the Arhtiyas over this issue, which, if left unresolved, has the potential of seriously disrupting the smooth procurement of paddy during Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21," the Chief Minister said, in a letter to Paswan.
He pointed out that the existing practice of commission payable to the Arhtiyas is governed by the statutory provisions of the Punjab Agriculture Produce Marketing Act, 1961 and the Rules framed thereunder. He mentioned that Rule 24A of the Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets (General) Rules, 1962 mandates that this Commission shall be payable at the rate of 2.5 per cent of the sale price of wheat/paddy.
The Chief Minister pointed out that Punjab is already passing through an acute financial crisis due to the slowdown in production and consumption patterns across all sectors of the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Despite the problems, during RMS 2020-21 the Arhtiyas contributed immensely in ensuring hassle-free procurement. This, in turn, has ensured maintainability of the Operational Stocks and Food Security Stocks/Reserves of FCI, thereby allowing the Government of India to liberally release food grains under PMGKAY and the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme," he added. (ANI)