The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday reviewed the arrangements and preparedness for the Paddy procurement season beginning from October 1, with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh issuing directives for smooth and hassle-free procurement of the grain.An official spokesperson said elaborate arrangements were being made to procure the expected 200 LMT Paddy.The Chief Minister has asked the Food and Civil Supplies Department, the nodal agency for the procurement operations, to ensure all necessary arrangements for smooth, prompt and hassle-free procurement and storage of paddy. He also reiterated his Government’s firm commitment to lift every single grain of the farmers’ produce from the market and strictly adhere to the prescribed norms of timely payment.The cabinet was informed that the Government of India had fixed Minimum Support Price Rs. 1770 per quintal for grade 'A' paddy and Rs. 1750 per quintal for common variety Paddy for the Kharif marketing season 2018-19. Five State procurement agencies, viz Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, PSWC, PAFC, along with FCI, will procure paddy on Minimum Support Price as per specification laid down by the Government of India.
During the previous KMS 2017-18, a total of 179.34 LMT paddy was procured, of which 176.61 LMT paddy was procured by Government agencies, while traders/millers procured only 2.73 LMT. During ensuing KMS 2018-19, State Agencies will procure 190.00 LMT paddy and FCI will procure 10 LMT paddy.The Cabinet was informed that for the procurement of 190 LMT paddy, Cash Credit Limit amounting to Rs. 40300 crore was required by State Procuring Agencies. The same will be arranged before the commencement of the season.Referring to the Paddy Purchase Policy for KMS 2018-19, the meeting was informed that the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department had already issued ‘The Punjab Custom Milling of Paddy Policy (Kharif 2018-19)’ for paddy processing, after approval of the Council of Ministers.The spokesperson further said that necessary arrangements of required covers (Tarpaulin) for storage of paddy would be done in a timely manner. The Punjab Mandi Board has notified 1834 Purchase Centers and allotment of Purchase Centers amongst the procuring agencies would be done before the commencement of KMS 2018-19. FCI makes its own arrangements of gunny bales, cash credit, stock articles and storage space.