Punjab government today said it has made a record payment of Rs 14,053.61 crore to wheat growers for procurement of the crop for the central pool during the ongoing Rabi marketing season. The “persistent” efforts by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh led to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) enhancing the state’s Cash Credit Limit (CCL) to a total of Rs 20,683 crore, said an official spokesman. The Chief Minister directed the state procurement agencies to take immediate steps to ensure that all pending dues of the farmers are cleared promptly and timely payments are made for fresh procurement made during May, following the RBI move. The spokesperson said that in the pursuance of government’s firm commitment to ensure prompt, hassle-free and smooth procurement of foodgrains, the state government made the highest-ever payment to the tune of Rs 14,053.61 crore, to the farmers during the year, as against Rs 5,938.21 crore in April 2016 and Rs 947.19 crore in April 2015.
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While extending the earlier sanctioned limit of Rs 17,994.21 crore by another month from the previous date of April 30, 2017, the central bank has also sanctioned an additional limit of Rs 2,688.79 crore for the May purchase, the spokesperson said. The RBI has also directed the state government to ensure that all its food credit accounts are always backed by fully paid stock value as per norms.
In a letter to Punjab’s Principal Secretary (Finance), the RBI said the cash credit limit enhancement had been made to address the urgent need for payment for the ongoing wheat procurement and in the light of the assurance of the State Bank of India (SBI). The total procurement of wheat this season so far stood at 118,08 lakh metric tonnes, of which 115.47 lakh MT was purchased by the state government procurement agencies. Of this, 111.41 lakh MT has already been lifted from the mandis, making it a remarkably smooth and swift procurement operation, the spokesman added.