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Ministry wants update on grain procurement

The food ministry has directed the states to regularly update data on the purchase of foodgrains and money disbursement to farmers along with their names for better transparency and record maintenance at micro level. The aim is to benefit all the farmers mainly belonging to scheduled caste or tribe.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 09.06 AM IST
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New Delhi: The food ministry has asked states to regularly update data on the amount of foodgrains purchased and the money disbursed to farmers along with their names to help it monitor and plan food procurement, and identify beneficiaries across the country.

“We have 14 states on board covering 361 districts across the country. They are sending us regular updates on procurement. Ten states have joined only a month ago. Among big states, West Bengal will join soon,” said a senior food ministry official.

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According to the latest report, 5 million rice farmers have benefited in the kharif season in which the government disbursed over Rs 80,000 crore for purchasing rice at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,815 a quintal. So far, the government has purchased around 38 million tonnes of rice.

“We want to make this exercise transparent. We have details at micro level, like how many small and marginal farmers benefited and how many of them belonged to scheduled caste or tribe. These data may be useful in designing any farmers’ welfare scheme,” the official said.

In kharif 2019, the government has the maximum procurement from Punjab, where more than 14 million tonnes of rice has been purchased so far, benefiting 1.2 million farmers.

“We have distributed over Rs 41,000 crore in the state. This time, most of the money has been transferred directly to farmers’ accounts bypassing the arhthiyas or brokers,” the official said.

Under the arthiya system, farmers in Punjab and Haryana unload their produce at a market yard licensed to an agent by the local mandi committee. The arthiya gets the grain cleaned, organises auctions, packs the produce into 50-kg bags and dispatches them to the buyers. The agents get commission and receive money on behalf of the farmers. They then distribute the money to farmers.

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