Updated: March 5, 2021 11:22:23 am
The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) Punjab office on Thursday wrote to the director of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs seeking land records of farmers so as to make direct online payment of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to their bank accounts from the upcoming Rabi marketing season (RMS).
The March 4 letter said that FCI, Zonal Office (N), Noida, has directed that land records are a must for wheat procurement in RMS 2021-22.
The director has been asked to update the land records on the Annaj Khardi Portal before commencement of the RMS 2021-22 to avoid complications.
The letter further says: “It is requested to share data of land records and convey to the office where to find it so that FCI shall verify land records of farmers during RMS 2021-22 with regard to FCI’s own purchase.”
The issue of direct payment to farmers accounts is something the Centre has been mulling for the past couple of years as it wants to remove middlemen from the process. Currently, arhtiyas (commission agents) get the payments in their accounts, which they in turn pay to farmers through cheques. The Centre has to pay 2.5 per cent commission to arhtiyas who facilitate procurement of the crop from farmers to government agencies and take commission for that from the government.
The Arhtiya Association of Punjab has already filed a petition in court against this, and also had the support of some farmers.
Currently, the government pays around Rs 1,400 crore-worth of commission annually for procurement of wheat and paddy only.
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