April 5, 2021 2:14:58 am
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal, seeking RDF (rural development fund) at 3% of MSP, i.e. Rs 54.64/qtl for KMS (kharif management season) 2020-21, instead of at 1%, as per the revised provisional cost sheet issued by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).
Stating that RDF @ 1% of MSP was contrary to the statutory provision as per Section 5 of the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, the CM in his letter said the notified RDF was also in conflict with the department letter of 24, 2020, vide which the revised principles of procurement incidentals were formulated in consultation with the states.
The letter allowed:
“(a) market fee or any other fees / levy / cess recognised by this department for a state or states in connection with procurement operations
(b) rates as notified by the states will be accepted both for PCS & FCS”.
Any unilateral reduction in the rate of RDF is neither as per the principles of procurement incidentals nor is it as per the law passed by the legislature of the state, and thus violates the very fabric of the federal structure of our nation, the CM said.
Noting that the market fee and RDF levied by Punjab are duly notified under a law, and have been accepted by the department of food and public distribution, Amarinder said that the RDF has been disallowed for the first time, in the provisional cost sheet issued by the DFPD.
He pointed out that the department of food and civil supplies had made a detailed representation, and thereafter, vide his letter dated December 13, 2020, he had personally requested Goyal for early release of RDF, being a statutory admissible levy for the past many years.
Subsequently, vide letter dated January 14, 2021, the state government had submitted requisite information sought by the DFPD, vide its letter dated October 26, 2020. Further information sought by DFPD regarding details of RDF receipt and expenditure during the years 2018-19 to 2020-21, has also been submitted in the prescribed proforma vide letter dated March 17, 2021.
The CM also reiterated that there are statutory provisions for spending the levy collected under the RDF Act, and it is beneficial for the development of rural infrastructure, which in turn impacts agriculture production and marketing of foodgrains.
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