Chandigarh, April 13
To ensure there is no misuse of Rural Development Fund (RDF), the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Punjab Rural Development (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022. According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, the government aims to spend the fund on strengthening the rural infrastructure and putting in place an advanced procurement system for the farmers.
- New procurement centres to be set up, with thrust on improving infra like drinking water facility and shelters
- The RDF will be spent on rural works, including construction or repair of approach roads to mandis
The Centre had recently stopped the Rs 1,100 crore RDF grant to Punjab over its utilisation concerns. The grant during the Congress and SAD-BJP governments was reportedly used for purposes other than rural development such as “sangat darshan”. The amendment to the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, is in line with the revised principles laid down by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on February 24, 2020.
Talking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema accused the previous Congress and Akali governments in the state of misusing the RDF. Cheema expressed hope that after this law comes into effect, the Centre would release the Rs 1,100-crore RDF to the state.
The RDF would now be spent on various works in rural areas, including construction or repair of approach roads to mandis and procurement centres, setting up of new procurement centres, making arrangements for supply of drinking water and for improving the sanitation at the mandis.
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