Wheat procurement rolled out, govt buys 78,000 tonnes in a fortnight

The government has procured 78,392 tonnes of wheat in the first fortnight of the fresh procurement season which began on March 15, 2021. The procurement has started only in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It is likely to pick up pace as it takes off in Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand from April1. The procurement Punjab has been delayed to April 10 due to spike in Covid-19 cases in the state. Last year also, Punjab had delayed procurement for 10 days due to the pandemic.

“This year we have set a target of procuring 42.73 million tonnes of wheat with Madhya Pradesh to contribute the maximum 13.5 million tonnes followed by Punjab (13 million tonnes), Haryana (8 million tonnes) and Uttar Pradesh (5.5 million tonnes). Last year we had bought million tonnes benefitting 4.33 million farmers,” said a food ministry official.

He said that the condition of wheat crop is good on the ground and 31.34% of the crops have been harvested so far. The harvesting exercise will pick up in couple of days with procurement.

Meanwhile, there is no clarity as to whether farmers in Punjab will get payment directly in their bank accounts or through arthiyas under the current practice.

The union food minister Piyush Goyal has written a letter to Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh asking for implementation of the direct and online payment system for farmers in the upcoming rabi wheat procurement season like all other major states.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said that he had written letters to the prime minister, home minister and food minister seeking to defer implementation of direct benefit transfer for at least a year.

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“There is no need to change the system. Arthiyas and farmers have cordial relationship in Punjab. Around 50 per cent farmers lease out their land. So how will those who till the land get their money under the DBT as the money would be directly transferred to land owners,” Singh is said to have argued in favour of money being routed through arthiyas.



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