Punjab CM seeks 3 pc rural development fund

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Chandigarh, Apr 4 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to the Union Food minister, seeking 3 per cent rural development fund of the minimum support price for Kharif marketing season 2020-21, instead of 1 per cent.

The chief minister in the letter pointed out that the RDF at 1 per cent of MSP was contrary to the statutory provision as per section 5 of the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987.

Singh told Union minister Piyush Goyal said the notified RDF was also in conflict with the department letter of February 24, 2020 which the revised principles of procurement incidentals were formulated in consultation with the states.

Any unilateral reduction in 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 chief minister 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, the CM said that the RDF has been disallowed for the first time by the DFPD.

Singh further pointed out that Punjab's department of Food and Civil Supplies on October 31, 2020, had made a detailed representation, and thereafter in December last year, he had personally requested Goyal for early release of RDF, being a statutory admissible levy for the past many years.

Subsequently, the state government had submitted requisite information sought by the DFPD, government of India. 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.

Notably, the Punjab government had earlier taken a strong exception to the cut in the RDF from 3 to 1 per cent on paddy procurement imposed by the Centre. PTI CHS VSD MR