Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution seeking RDF @ 3% of MSP i.e. Rs. 54.64/qtl for KMS 2020-21, instead of at 1%, as per the revised provisional cost sheet issued by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).
Pointing out that the RDF @ 1% of MSP was contrary to the statutory provision as per section 5 of the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, the Chief Minister, in his letter to Piyush Goyal, said the notified RDF was also in conflict with the Department letter of February 24, 2020, vide which the revised principles of procurement incidentals were formulated in consultation with the States. The letter allowed: “(a) market fee or any other fees / levy / cess recognised by this Department for a State or States in connection with procurement operations
(b) Rates as notified by the States will be accepted both for PCS & FCS”.
Any unilateral reduction in rate of RDF is neither as per the principles of procurement incidentals nor is it as per the Law passed by the Legislature of the State, and thus violates the very fabric of the federal structure of our nation, said the Chief Minister.
Noting that the Market Fee and RDF levied by Punjab are duly notified under a law, and have been accepted by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, the Chief Minister said that the RDF has been disallowed for the first time, in the Provisional Cost Sheet issued by the DFPD.
Captain Amarinder further pointed out that the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab, vide its letter Dated October 31, 2020, had made a detailed representation, and thereafter, vide his D.O. letter Dated December 13, 2020, he had personally requested Goyal for early release of RDF, being a statutory admissible levy for the past many years.
Subsequently, vide letter dated January 14, 2021, the state government had submitted requisite information sought by the DFPD, Government of India vide its letter Dated October 26th, 2020. Further information sought by DFPD, regarding details of RDF receipt and expenditure during the years 2018-19 to 2020-21, has also been submitted in the prescribed proforma vide letter dated March 17, 2021.
Captain Amarinder Singh also reiterated that there are statutory provisions for spending the levy collected under RDF Act, and it is hugely beneficial for the development of rural infrastructure, which in turn positively impacts agriculture production and marketing of food grains.