The process of disbursement of subsidy among farmers who had purchased wheat seed through the state agriculture department, has commenced with the state government disbursing the amount to the chief agriculture officers (CAO) of the districts.
This was confirmed by Amritsar CAO Balwinder Singh Chinna after receiving the first installment of Rs 80 lakh from the state headquarters. “This amount will be deposited into the individual accounts of the seed purchasers after they deposit a copy of the purchase or sale receipt with the district agriculture office,” he said.
Giving this information here on Friday, Chinna said, “We have begun depositing the amount into the accounts of the farmers who purchased seeds either from government seed agencies or from private agencies. At the time of purchase the farmers had to make the full payment and those who did this will now get the subsidy amount.”
A total of 32,000 quintals of wheat seed is to be sold at subsidised rates to farmers in Amritsar district. The selling process commenced on November 1 after the CAO’s office had received a total of 16,562 applications from farmers, with 15,596 being found valid. Small farmers and women farmers will be given priority under this scheme.
Till date, over 12,000 quintals of seed had been sold to farmers and bills or receipts had been deposited with the agriculture department for release of subsidy. The process is on and is expected to be completed by the end of the next week.
Agriculture officials admitted that while farmers were quick to fill in applications for getting the seed at subsidised rates, the process of purchase was rather slow. “This is because the farmers have to make the full payment at the time of purchase with the subsidy coming later into their accounts. A number of farmers, especially those with small land holdings lack the finances to make the full payment,” they said.
“A majority of the farmers in the district still have not received their payments for the paddy or basmati crop that they had sold to the government purchase agencies or to the private traders,” the CAO admitted.
According to Agriculture Development officer (ADO) Gurdip Singh, it was for the first time that the government had streamlined the entire wheat seed distribution process throughout the state. The ADO said in the applications the farmers had to specify their land holdings as well as the amount of land (area) they plan to bring under the wheat crop. On the bases of this information the quantity of seed to be supplied was fixed.
“This system will keep a check on any attempts by farmers resell the subsidised seeds to other farmers at higher rates. We will also be going in for a field check,” he added.
The subsidy being provided is either 50 percent of the actual seed cost or upto a maximum of `1,000 per quintal. This subsidy will not be paid directly to farmers but will go into their bank accounts.
The idea of this scheme is also to ensure that farmers sow the recommended wheat varieties. The varieties being provided are HD--2967 and WH--1105. Both are high yielding varieties.
Besides Punseed, IFFCO, Kribco, PAU and National Seed Corporation (NSC), there are 14 listed and recognised private seed companies in Amritsar district where a total of 1.85 lakh hectares were expected to be covered with wheat.
Punjab Agriculture director, Gurdial Singh said, “We have distributed 300 kits. Each kit contains wheat seed, nutrients and insecticides. These kits have been given to small farmers who have lands between 1 to 1.5 acres. Total 5,300 kits will be distributed in 123 districts of Punjab.”