The central government on Friday said that it has no intention to eliminate Arthiyas in Punjab and Haryana and no direction has been issued to eliminate Arthiyas from the mandi system. However, the Centre has directed the state governments of Haryana and Punjab to ensure online payments to farmers through e-mode from the upcoming season in a bid to make online payments to farmers by all states is done through their State / FCI portals.
Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said in a statement that E-mode of payment ensures that all participants including farmers, Arthiyas, mandis, etc. receive their payments directly online in the chain in order to ensure transparency, tracking the trail of payments made and benefits for all. This is not a replacement for the current APMC system. It only strengthens transparency and elimination of leakages said the statement.
In Uttar Pradesh, procurement through Bio-authentication of farmers has been introduced while Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh are also keen to adopt Bio-authenticated procurement which will ensure transparency/tracking end-user beneficiary.
The Ministry said, “E-mode of MSP (Minimum Support Price) payment is already in force across India, Govt of India has been trying to ensure the same in Punjab and Haryana at least since 2015-16.”
“These efforts of the Govt of India far predate farm acts. Digital mode of financial benefit transfers Or payments by Government agencies to beneficiaries has been highly successful and appreciated tool of transparency which has been instrumental in eliminating leakages in delivery of benefits.”
E-mode of payment has already been adopted partially by Haryana and Punjab and a part of the payment for this paddy procurement was done through e-mode only.
In Punjab, payment of MSP was made to the farmers through Arthiyas while in Haryana, FCI (Food Corporation of India) made Payment of MSP directly to farmer’s bank accounts through online mode, whereas state agencies made payment of MSP to the farmers partly through Arthiya and partly directly to farmer’s account through online mode as per option given by the farmers in thee-Kharid portal.
However, both the state govt. have been routinely approaching GoI for granting exemption/seeking time for implementation of direct online payment initiative. GoI has, therefore, directed State Govt. Or Punjab and Haryana to ensure online payment to farmers through e-mode from the upcoming season and that no further relaxation on this account will be accorded, said the statement.
The State agencies have to also ensure the use of the Expenditure Advance Transfer module (EAT) of Public Financial Module System (PFMS) while making payment, as Mandated by the Ministry of Finance, GOI. The State Govts. have to integrate their online payment system with PFMS. The online payment system shall necessarily have the feature of online registration of farmers and online payment to them as mandated by GOI.
Online Procurement System ushers in transparency and convenience to the farmers through proper registration and monitoring of actual procurement. All States have also been encouraged to procure the produce of the farmers online, said the Ministry.
Through the e-procuring module deployed by procuring Agencies, farmers get the latest/updated information regarding MSP declared, nearest purchase center, the date on which the farmer has to bring his produce to the purchase center, etc. This has not only reduced the waiting period for delivery of stock by the farmers but also enables the farmer to deliver stock as per his convenience in the nearest mandi.
E-mode of payment ensure all value chain participants incl farmers, Arhityas, Mandis, etc get their payments directly instead of getting paid through another value chain participant (e.g. Arhitya paying the farmer). This ensures transparency and benefits for all. This is not a replacement of the current APMC system, said Food Ministry.
Govt of India remains committed to ensuring direct benefits to farmers through the JAM trinity like the way it has been done through PM KISAN, said the government.
The Centre has released a record Rs. 125217.62 crore this year and Rs. 297196.52 crore more will be released during this financial year towards food subsidy of which Rs. 116653.96 crores is reflected in PFMS towards Punjab. In respect of Haryana approximately Rs. 24841.56 core would be benefiting farmers, said the statement.