Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Friday sought the intervention of Union Minister Piyush Goyal for immediate release of pending arrears of Rural Development Fee (RDF) and Market Development Fee (MDF) worth Rs 3095 crore.
Mann, who called on Goyal in Delhi, said that the Centre has not yet released the RDF worth Rs 2880 crore for kharif marketing seasons 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2022-23 apart from MDF worth Rs 215 crore. He said that these funds are utilised for the holistic development in the rural areas. The CM said that RDF is payable to Punjab Rural Development Board at the rate of three per cent of the minimum support price. He said that RDF has been paid on regular basis since 1987 till rabi marketing season 2020-21 as per rate notified (3% of MSP) by Punjab.
He said that the purpose of this fund is basically to promote the agriculture and rural infrastructure which ultimately add to overall development of agriculture viz rural road network, marketing infrastructure, augmentation of storage facility, land record computerization, automation, mechanization of mandis and others.
Mann bemoaned that RDF was restricted to 1% of MSP in the provisional cost sheet of KMS 2020-21 onwards, on the plea of its scrutiny with respect to purpose of funds. He said that the state government had submitted all clarifications, requisite documents and details of expenditure after which RDF was allowed for KMS 2020-21 and RMS 2021-22 subject to condition that Punjab had to amend RDF, Act before commencement of Kharif Marketing Season 2021- 22.