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Govt to release Rs 2.97 lakh Crore food subsidies in current fiscal

Published: Feb 20, 2021


NEW DELHI, FEB 20, 2021: THE Central government on Friday said it has already released a record Rs 1.25 lakh crore in 2020-21 for food subsidies and will release nearly Rs. 3 lakh crore more in the coming financial year.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution added that the Public Financial Module System (PFMS) reflects the payment of Rs. 1,16,653.96 crore towards Punjab while another Rs. 24,841.56 crore is reflected for Haryana.

"Government has released a record Rs. 1,25,217.62 crore this year and Rs. 2,97,196.52 crore more will be released during this financial year towards food subsidy," it said.

Electronic modes of payment were also made compulsory for Punjab and Haryana to pay the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the crops to the farmers, said the ministry.

"E-mode of payment ensures that all participants including farmers, arthiyas [middle-men], mandis etc. receive their payments directly online in the chain in order to ensure transparency, tracking the trail of payments made and benefits for all," it said.

The government assured that they have no intention to eliminate arthiyas in Punjab and Haryana.

"This is not a replacement of the current APMC [Agricultural Produce Market Committee] system. It only strengthens transparency and elimination of leakages," the ministry clarified.

The ministry informed that it had been trying to pursue direct online payments with the Punjab and Haryana government since 2015-16. However, both States have routinely asked for extensions to implement the system.

"The government of India has therefore, directed the State government of Punjab and Haryana to ensure online payment to farmers through e-mode from upcoming season and that no further relaxation on this account will be accorded," it firmly stated.

The State agencies have to integrate their online payment methods with PFMS and ensure the use of Expenditure Advance Transfer module (EAT) while making the payment, as mandated by the Ministry of Finance. The online payment system should have the feature of online registration of farmers and online payment to them.

"Online procurement system ushers in transparency and convenience to the farmers through proper registration and monitoring of actual procurement. All States have also been encouraged to procure the produce of the farmers online," the government said.