Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today urged the Union Finance Ministry to release the cash credit limit (CCL) worth Rs20,900 crore for wheat procurement, which begins tomorrow.
Manpreet, who held a meeting with Union Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa in New Delhi this afternoon, said the latter had promised to get the CCL released by tomorrow.
The state government is supposed to make the payment to farmers within 48 hours of the procurement of their wheat. The crop arrival is likely to pick up by the end of next week.
Manpreet said the CCL issue had been taken up by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week.
“I told the Union Finance Secretary that Punjab, which has to feed the nation by giving about 120 lakh tonnes of wheat during the next four
weeks, should not be treated like a beggar by the Centre,” said Manpreet. “We have already paid three instalments of Rs270 crore each to the Centre as part of the repayment of Rs31,000 crore to settle the food account,” he added.
The state government also wants that the Centre should not charge more than 7 per cent interest on the outstanding principal amount related to the food account. At present, the interest rate is around 11 per cent.
Meanwhile, sources said about 1.7 lakh tonnes of old wheat stock had deteriorated to the extent that it was no longer fit for human consumption.
It would have to be disposed of at a throwaway price. Most of such stock is lying with Pungrain, Punsup and Markfed, it is learnt.
Rs 700 crore received
Chandigarh: The Punjab Government received Rs 700 crore from the Centre late on Friday evening. Payments to the cash-strapped state had been stopped by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) since March 29. Defaulting on its overdraft facility with the RBI by Rs 1,500 crore, the state government had sought Rs 1,200 crore from the Centre.
The amount finally released did not allow the state to clear its overdraft, even as payments to the government by banks will not be made before Monday.
Sources in the Finance Department stated that the overdraft would be cleared and the payments resume thereon only after the state government received Punjab’s share from the devolution of central taxes by Monday.
Though this is not the first time that the state government has gone into overdraft after availing its ways and means advance limit, the payments were stopped this time when the wheat procurement is set to begin.
Debt waiver to benefit marginal farmers
Chandigarh: Small and marginal farmers will be given preference in the bailout package proposed under the proposed farm debt waiver scheme of the government.
In wake of the continued suicides by debt-ridden farmers, the CM was keen to address the issue of debts and not other loans taken by farmers. Though a committee has been set up to evaluate debt in the farm sector it is being estimated the debt has gone up to Rs 69,000 crore, out of which farm debt is around Rs 50,000 crore. tns
Capt backtracking on promises: Sukhbir
Fatehgarh Sahib: SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said Capt Amarinder Singh had fooled people as he had backtracked on promises made during the Assembly elections.
“Capt has backtracked waiver of farm loan and provision of meals on low rates. He will also do a volte-face on giving a job to one member of family,” he said in Amloh. tns
20 Feb 2020
21 Feb 2020