Punjab Cabinet approves amendments to rural development & Agricultural Produce Markets Act

Chandigarh, November 23: The Punjab Cabinet, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, has approved various amendments to provide relief to the debt-ridden farmers by promoting agricultural diversification and rural infrastructural development in the state.

The necessary Bills related to these would be introduced in the forthcoming session of the Vidhan Sabha, an official spokesperson disclosed after the Cabinet meet held here on Wednesday.

The amendments relate to Section 5(1) of “The Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987”, increasing the Rural Development fee rate from 2 % to 3%, and to Sections 23 (1), 26 and 28 of “The Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961”, to provide relief to the debt stressed farmers.

The first amendment would help to secure both, the produce of agricultural commodities as well as the producers, and to utilize the Rural Development Fund for providing relief to the farmers burdened by debts. The market fee so collected is spent on better marketing of agricultural produce and development of market infrastructure/its maintenance. The fee is being used for undertaken new projects, including maize dryers, grading of agriculture produce, ripening chambers and cold storage, besides repair of link roads, said the spokesperson.

The amendments to The Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, will not only help alleviate the problems of the debt stressed farmers but would also help producers get a fair price for their produce. It will, in addition, help in modernizing marketing mechanism to keep pace with the advanced trade practices being witnessed globally.