Punjab CM Mann Flags Issue Of Release Of Pending Share Of Taxes, RDF Before Union Minister

The states must be empowered to play a bigger and effective role in the development of the country, an official statement quoted him as saying
Bhagwant Mann
Bhagwant Mann

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday flagged the issue of the release of pending share of taxes and rural development fund (RDF) before Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav here. Addressing a workshop on effective paddy straw management here, Mann underscored the need for the financial sustainability of the states to contribute to the socio-economic growth of the country. The states must be empowered to play a bigger and effective role in the development of the country, an official statement quoted him as saying.

For this, the Union government must release the pending share of taxes and RDF, Mann said. He sought the intervention of Yadav to raise the issue at the appropriate forum. In December last year, Mann had sought the release of Rs 3,095 crore of RDF and market development fee. Describing paddy straw as an asset, Mann underlined the need for developing a sustainable mechanism for its management. It is a long pending issue of the entire northern region but the farmers lack any viable mechanism to manage crops residue, he added.

Farmers do not want to burn stubble as it is their families who have to face the brunt of this menace first, the chief minister said. The Union government and state governments have to join hands by preparing a joint action plan to combat this menace by ensuring procurement of stubble, he said. Citing an example of Verbio company, Mann said it took the initiative to manage the stubble in 47,000 acres. Such companies should be further encouraged, he added.

To combat the problem of paddy menace, the state government has already taken major responsibility for assured remuneration of all crops to promote diversification, Mann said. Lodging FIRs against the farmers is not the solution to tackle this problem as it involves social stigma, he stressed. Dependence of farmers entirely on farming is the main cause of farmers' suicides, he said.

Talking about about the rich legacy of the state, Mann said the brave and determined heroes of the freedom struggle made enormous sacrifices to remove the shackles of foreign imperialism. He said it is on record that more than 90 per cent of the great patriots who laid down their lives or were subjected to British tyranny in one form or another were Punjabis.

Farmers need to be encouraged to adopt allied farming activities to supplement their income, Mann said. Speaking about the cropping pattern, the chief minister underlined the need for adopting the varieties of paddy that take minimum time to ripe. Sugarcane is a vital substitute of paddy but farmers have to face the difficulties in selling it, he said. However, Mann said the state government has already set its wheels in motion to promote cultivation of sugarcane in a big way.

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