The Punjab Cabinet today approved the policy for smooth and hassle-free procurement of 130 lakh MT wheat during the forthcoming Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2018-19, besides ensuring timely payment to the farmers at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs. 1735 per quintal as fixed by the Centre.
This decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh this evening.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said elaborate arrangements had been made to procure 130 lakh metric tonnes of wheat by six procurement agencies including, FCI, as per allocated share/target during the season set to commence on April 1, 2018. The two-months season will end on May 31, 2018.
The policy emphasized the need to ensure that wheat conforming to specifications prescribed by the Government of India was procured at the MSP declared by GoI, while making it clear that procurement would not be allowed below the MSP under any circumstances. The procurement agencies included Pungrain 26 lakh MT (20 percent), Markfed 26 lakh MT (20 percent), Punsup 26 lakh MT (20 percent), Punjab State Warehousing Corportaion14.30 lakh MT (11 percent), Punjab Agro Food Corporation 11.70 lakh MT (9 percent) and FCI 26 lakh MT (20 percent).
According to the policy, these shares had been fixed from the administrative point of view, as per the policy, which noted that the agencies, however, would remain responsible for the continuous purchase in the mandis allotted to them, till the wheat continues to arrive there, irrespective of their procurement shares, said the spokesperson. The policy made it mandatory for lifting of the wheat, from the mandis to the storage points, by the agencies within 72 hours of purchase.
The Deputy Commissioners would be required to constitute Grievances Redressal Committees, comprising representatives of the concerned agency, Mandi Board, Arhtiyas and farmers in each mandi, to address to the problems of the farmers so as to ensure conduct of smooth procurement. In case a complaint regarding wheat procurement is received from farmers, the same would be resolved by the committee on the spot. Wheat would be procured in all the mandis/purchase centres even on Sunday and gazetted holidays so as to prevent a glut in mandis.
In the purchase centers which are shared amongst the procurement agencies, the distribution of the yards shall be done by the District Food and Supplies Controller concerned. As many as 1835 mandis have been notified for the smooth procurement of wheat, the spokesperson said.
As per the policy, all procurement agencies would be responsible for deputing adequate staff in the allotted mandis well in advance to ensure smooth and hassle free procurement to facilitate farmers. The policy also stipulates that bidding would be held in all the allotted purchase centres daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and no bidding would take place at night under any circumstances. Presence of concerned Inspector of Food Department, along with representative of the procuring agency and Market Committee in each mandi, must be ensured at the time of bidding.
The District Food & Supplies Controllers and District Mandi Officers would ensure that arrangements with regard to cleaning of mandi yards, electricity, shelter, water, moisture meters are completed, along with availability of tarpaulins, polythene covers and mechanical cleaners required for wheat purchase, well in time for the procurement.
Referring to filing of bags with wheat, the policy stipulates that 50 Kg new jute bags be used during RMS 2018-19, as was done earlier, with 50 Kg of wheat is to be filled in each. In addition to this, wheat to be procured under NFSA 2013/ Smart Ration Card Scheme will be packed in 30 kg capacity PP/Jute bags.
The spokesperson further said that each agency would make the requisite arrangements of 50 Kg capacity of new jute bags for filling of wheat during RMS 2018-19, and every district would be supplied bardana (Gunny bags) in time as per its requirement.
Under the policy, Field Officers would have to ensure that the required bardana is made available in every mandi before the start of the season, and they shall monitor bardana availability on a daily basis. If any shortage of bardana is reported in any district it should be immediately brought to the notice of Head Office so that necessary arrangement can be made. Arrangement of 30 Kg bags for procurement of stocks to be distributed under National Food Security Act (NFSA) is to be done by Pungrain, as per the policy.
The Cabinet further made it clear that no deviation from the norms for Arhtiyas to with respect to marking the bags would be tolerated. As per the procurement policy, it was mandatory on the part of Arhtiyas to put their distinguishing marka on the wheat bags procured by Government agencies, showing Crop year, full name of arhtiya, name of produce and name of purchase centre, in blue colored markings which should be legible.
With regard to lifting, the policy says that every agency would ensure the lifting of procured wheat to its storage point within 72 hours of purchase. Figures of lifting would be conveyed, along with quantity of wheat procured, to the District/ H.O. and these figures are to be conveyed daily to the Control Room of H.O. by the district offices. During the wheat procurement season, the work of labour and transportation would be performed as per labour/transport policy.
On the issue of payment, the policy mandates that the payment against purchase of wheat be made through the online system, by using the rupay card, to arthiyas or farmers willing to receive direct payment from the agencies. The arrangement of requisite funds for payment for purchase of wheat would be made through the sanction of Cash Credit Limit from Reserve Bank of India, and difference between actual expenditure and the expenditure incurred as per the provisional cost sheet issued by the Govt. of India would be recouped by the State Government through budgetary provisioning.