‘Have no choice’: Punjab to make direct MSP payment to farmers as Centre rejects plea for exemption

Will make direct payments and work out some protection for arhtiyas: Punjab ministers Manpreet Badal and BB Ashu

‘Have no choice’: Punjab to make direct MSP payment to farmers as Centre rejects plea for exemption

Punjab delegation talking to mediapersons after meeting with Food Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 8

Punjab farmers can look forward to direct online MSP payment from the upcoming procurement season after the Centre on Thursday rejected the state’s demand for yet another exemption from the DBT route.

“We have no option and choice,” Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal said after a nearly two-hour meeting with Food minister Piyush Goyal who categorically told the state that the Centre will make procurements and reimburse related costs only if the state pays directly to farmers and not through arhtiyas.

“The minister has rejected our requests for exemption from the DBT route and we are now left with no choice. The minister said the state would have to make its own procurement arrangements if it wishes to pay farmers through arhtiyas. So we have no choice,” Badal said.

Punjab food minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the state will find a way to pay directly to farmers and will ensure some protection for arhtiyas.

He said the CM has called a meeting with arhtiyas tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Centre has agreed to grant Punjab six month extension to link land record to the national e-procurement portal.

The Centre today said 15 procuring states had started DBT payments to farmers and no further exemption was possible for Punjab which had already got three exemptions in the past.

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