For transparent procurement, govt pays farmers online
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Following the Madhya Pradesh model, the Food and Civil Supplies Department of Uttar Pradesh has introduced Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transfer of funds for foodgrain procurement from farmers.
The scheme of online transfer, which is expected to make the payment system transparent and time-bound, was implemented earlier this month.
Payment after procurement of grains from farmers was earlier done through account payee cheques. However, due to lacunae in the system, the farmers faced problems like bounced bank cheques or expired cheques and the payment was delayed by several months, a reason why farmers frequently chose to sell off their yield to middlemen.
Now the payment of the procured grains will be transferred to the farmers' account directly within 48 hours of the purchase order.
"We have started the facility for online payment of farmers at selected places. The facility will be extended to other districts phase-wise," said Balwinder Kumar, Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies.
"The facility began after June 4 and though we were planning to extend the facility to all our 600 marketing centres across the state, we have not been able to cover so many centres till now," said Archana Agarwal, Food Commissioner.
"As of now, 44 centres in four divisions including Lucknow and Gorakhpur have started e-transfer of funds through RTGS. In Lucknow alone, more than Rs 6 crore has been transferred online to farmers," she said, adding that the department is all set to extend the facility to all 600 centres by the coming kharif season.
Madhya Pradesh has 100 per cent online payment, achieved over a period of three years, Agarwal said.
For farmers to use the facility of online fund transfer, they need to have an account in a CBS (Core Banking Solution) branch of a bank but many farmers have accounts in cooperative banks or banks that do not have CBS branch. Hence, it is not possible to go for 100 per cent e-payment as of now, she said, adding that the department hopes that more farmers will open accounts in banks with CBS branches after seeing the benefits of the system.
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