Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh has written to the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution seekingrural development fund  at the rate of 3 per cent of MSP i.e. Rs 54.64 per quintal for the kharif marketing season 2020-21, instead of one per cent, as per the revised provisional cost sheet issued by the Department of Food and Public Distribution.

Pointing out that the one per cent RDF of MSP was contrary to the statutory provision as per Section 5 of the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, the Punjab Chief Minister, in his letter to Piyush Goyal, said the notified rural development fund was also in conflict with the department letter in which the revised principles of procurement incidentals were formulated in consultation with the states. The letter allowed market fee or any other fees recognised by the department for a state or states in connection with procurement operations and said the rates as notified by the states would be accepted.

Unilateral cut goes against federalism

Any unilateral reduction in the rate of Rural Development Fund is neither as per the principles of procurement incidentals nor is it as per the law passed by the state legislature, and thus violated the very fabric of the federal structure. — Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister

Any unilateral reduction in rate of Rural Development Fund was neither as per the principles of procurement incidentals nor was it as per the law passed by the legislature of the state, and thus violated the very fabric of the federal structure of our nation, said the Chief Minister.

Noting that the market fee and Rural Development fund levied by Punjab were duly notified under a law, and had been accepted by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, the Chief Minister said the Rural Development Fund had been disallowed for the first time in the provisional cost sheet issued by the DFPD.

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh also reiterated that there were statutory provisions for spending the levy collected under the Rural Development Fund Act, and it was hugely beneficial for the development of rural infrastructure, which in turn positively impacted agriculture production and marketing of foodgrain.

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