Withholding Rs 1,200 cr of Punjab’s RDF an arm twisting: Manpreet Badal

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Chandigarh, Jan 6 (PTI) Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday slammed the Centre for allegedly holding back the state's rural development fund amounting to Rs 1,200 crore, dubbing it as “an arm twisting tactic” amid the farmers' protest.

“The kind of the government of India’s attitude towards Punjab is not right. It has withheld our Rs 1,200 crore of RDF on paddy crop. It has not been paid to us as yet,” said Badal while addressing the media here.

He said the Centre has not released the RDF despite the state raising the issue with the concerned central ministry.

Punjab charges three per cent of the minimum support price of wheat and paddy as the RDF from buyers, he said.

The Centre last year had allegedly put Punjab’s RDF on hold on the pretext of by scrutinising its utilisation.

Badal said Punjab's RDF is a statutory tax which has to be paid.

“You cannot question us on this,” he said, adding the Centre had asked the state government on the utilisation of RDF funds.

“They (Centre) are upset with us as to why Punjab farmers are agitating and why are you (Punjab government) not controlling them. It is a kind of an arm twisting tactic,” he said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for more than a month, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for minimum support price for their crops.

Badal further expressed displeasure over the non-selection of Punjab for food parks proposed to be set up by some United Arab Emirates entities in the country.

He said the United Arab Emirates had planned to set up three food park projects in the country.

“The UAE was keen to set up a food park in Punjab. But the government of India gave one food park project to Gujarat, second to Madhya Pradesh and the third one to Maharashtra. We feel this was an unfair selection. Punjab deserved it,” said Badal.

The state finance minister also alleged that the GST (goods and services tax) compensation to the tune of Rs 8,500 crore was still pending.

Badal said with the mobilisation of its tax revenue and rationalisation of the government expenditure, the state did not go for any overdraft for a single day in the current financial year. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX