For the first time, amid Covid, all rice delivery operations in Punjab, including allotment, registration and physical verification of rice mills through videos, will be undertaken online, under the new Punjab Custom Milling Policy for Paddy for Kharif 2020-21.To ensure smooth paddy procurement, the state government has decided to launch a dedicated portal – www.anaajkharid.in, the way for which was paved on Tuesday by the state cabinet, which approved the new policy, aimed at ensuring seamless milling of paddy and delivery of rice into the Central Pool from more than 4150 mills operating in the state. The Cabinet met here virtually under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The whole gamut of yearly procurement operations – from allotment of mills, their registration, application of release order, deposit of RO fee and levy/CMR security besides all important monitoring of stocks, will be done online now on continuous basis, according to an official spokesperson.All the state procuring agencies i.e. PUNGRAIN, MARKFED, PUNSUP, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) including Food Corporation of India and the Rice Millers/their legal heirs as well as all other stakeholders will operate and interact on the website, with the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Punjab acting as the Nodal Department.Under the policy, the sole criterion for allotment of free paddy to mills this season would be the miller's performance in the previous year i.e. KMS 2019-20, and an additional percentage-wise incentive would be provided to mills as per their date of delivery of rice against milling of Custom milled paddy, including RO paddy in the previous year. Mills which had completed their entire milling by 31st January, 2020, would be eligible for additional 15% of free paddy milled in 2019-20, as per the policy. Those who had completed delivery of rice by 28th February, 2020 would get an additional 10% of free paddy.
For security of the stocks, millers this year would be required to furnish enhanced bank guarantee, equal to value of 10% of acquisition cost of allocable free paddy above 3000 Metric Tonnes (MTs), as against 5% on 5000 MTs last year. Lowering of the threshold limit for submission of bank guarantee would bring an additional 1000+ mills within the direct monitoring ambit. In addition, a miller shall have to purchase a minimum of 150 MTs of paddy in his own account or he shall deposit an amount of Rs 5 Lakh (non-refundable) in state treasury and Rs 5 Lakh in form of refundable security online in PUNGRAIN account. In another measure to guard against any paddy diversion, RO paddy has been brought into the ambit of Custom Milling Security (CMR). Millers will be required to deposit Rs 125 for each MT for every paddy stored or part therefore, including RO paddy, with the concerned agency. In another unique step, to tackle the issue of moisture content in CMR, the policy stipulates compulsory installation of Dryer and Sortex for a new mill and/or in case of enhancement of capacity. Under the new policy, newly established rice mills shall be allocated 3500 MTs of paddy for 1 tonne capacity, with mills with 1.5 tonne capacity to be allotted 4000 MTs. Two tonne capacity would be eligible for 4500 MTs, and 5500 MTs for a 3-tonne mill. Every subsequent increase of 1 MT in capacity would be eligible for increase of 1000 MTs paddy. The state is expected to procure 170 Lakh MTs of paddy during Kharif season beginning October 1, with total area under paddy sowing this year at 26.60 Lakh hectares, down from 29.20 Lakh hectares the previous season in line with the state’s crop diversification efforts. The target was to complete the Custom Milling of Paddy, thereby delivering all due rice to Food Corporation of India, by March 31, 2021. Under the milling schedule prescribed, millers would have to deliver 35% of their total rice due by 31st of December 2020 and 60% of total rice due by 31st of January 2021, 80% of total rice due by 28th February 2021, and total rice due by 31st March, 2021.