Punjab has paid around Rs 22,000 crore to 10 lakh farmers directly for purchasing highest-ever 132 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat during the rabi marketing season that ended today.

94% amount transferred

  • Around 94 per cent — Rs21,927. 39 crore out of total Rs23,517.60 crore — of the amount has been paid directly to farmers to date
  • As against making payments to just 22,000 arhtiyas before, the government had to pay 10 lakh farmers this season

Till the kharif marketing season (KMS) last year, the farmers were paid for their crops procured through commission agents. However, during this rabi marketing season (RMS), the government successfully switched over to making direct payments to farmers through the direct benefit transfer (DBT).

As against payments made to just 22,000 arhtiyas before this procurement season, the government had to pay 10 lakh farmers this season — 94 per cent of the amount has been paid to date (Rs 21,927. 39 crore out of total Rs 23,517.60 crore).

After initial resistance by arhtiyas, the system was introduced on the first day of the season i.e. on April 10. Within two days, the software for making the direct payment was rolled out by the state government, though it began developing it earlier after the Centre insisted on the DBT to farmers.

Special classes were organised for the arhtiyas and their staff, teaching them on how to upload details of farmers — their names, bank account numbers, Aadhaar cards, mobile number, pass number issued to them for coming to mandis, address and weight of the crop brought by farmers for sale — on the Anaj Kharid portal. The auction of wheat took place once the details were registered. “This was all very new for farmers, arhtiyas as well as the procurement agency staff. But things were put in place within two-three days, and the system got going,” Ravi Bhagat, Secretary, Punjab Mandi Board, told The Tribune.

Record wheat has been procured this year. Against a target of 130 LMT, the procurement this year stands at 132.21 LMT. Since the marketable surplus has already arrived in mandis, the Centre allowed Punjab to wind up its procurement operations today, instead of May 31.


Source: 11 May, 2021, The Tribune