Punjab CM opposes direct bank transfer scheme for farmers


Strongly opposing the direct bank transfer scheme for farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that he had written to the Prime Minister seeking early resolution of the matter in view of the upcoming Rabi season.

The Chief Minister, who has also sought time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting on the issue, sought his personal indulgence to issue appropriate directions to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to defer the implementation of the scheme for at least one year.

The ‘ahrtiyas’, or commission agents, and the farmers have long-standing relations, he pointed out, questioning the need to change the system when it is working very well.

Around 50 per cent farmers give their land on contract, so how will those who till the land get their money under direct bank transfer scheme, the Chief Minister said at a media event.

In his letter, Amarinder Singh drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the ministry’s directions, asking the Punjab government to ensure direct payment to farmers along with online submission of the details of land owners and cultivators.

Pointing to the age-old relationship that exists in Punjab between the commission agents, who are licencees under the Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act of 1961, and farmers, he noted that for the past many decades, the state’s procurement agencies and the FCI have been procuring foodgrains for the Central pool.

The farmers have never complained of non-receipt of payment of minimum support price (MSP), and the state government is ensuring online payment to the farmers, albeit through these ‘arhtiyas’, the Chief Minister added.

The Chief Minister further said that the land ownership and tenancy issues may give rise to various avoidable legal complications, especially during the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

This, he said, “may also cause avoidable unrest and anguish among the farmers”. He noted that bringing the software in line with the proposed directions shall take considerable time.