Chandigarh: With a new decision, the Central Government has now stopped paying the cost of crop procurement to Punjab, which is already reeling under financial crisis, due to which the state will have to suffer a financial loss of about Rs 3200 crore annually.

The central government has now reduced the administrative expenditure on paddy procurement from 2.5 per cent to 1 per cent. The cut in administrative expenses will directly result in a financial loss of Rs 577 crore to Punjab.

The political atmosphere in Punjab is now likely to flare up against this central decision. Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal has written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, apprising him of the new decision.

The Government of India has also issued an order to reduce the expenditure on crop procurement as rural development fund (RDF) and market fee from 6 per cent to 2 per cent.

With this central gesture, Punjab will suffer a blow of about Rs 2640 crore annually as Punjab procures crops worth about Rs 66,000 crore annually, from which Punjab used to get about Rs 4000 crore annually as rural development fund and market fee.

After the new letter, this fund will now be reduced to Rs 1320 crore annually. Similarly, paddy crop worth Rs 38,500 crore was procured last year and the paddy crop alone has been getting 2.5 per cent administrative expenses.

Now, with the administrative expenditure being increased to one per cent, the state will suffer a loss of Rs 577 crore annually. In this way, Punjab will have to face a total financial loss of Rs 3217 crore annually.

Punjab has four procurement agencies which are funded by the central government as administrative expenses. Now that these funds have been slashed by 1.5 per cent, the procurement agencies will be tempted to pay salaries to their employees.

The central government’s argument is that except Punjab and Haryana, one per cent administrative expenditure is being given in the rest of the country, due to which now Punjab and Haryana will also get one per cent administrative cost.

Earlier, the Centre had also reduced the commission of 2.5 per cent of arhtiyas to Rs 45.38 per quintal.

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