News:Punjab government has directed all government procurement agencies to link the bank accounts of farmers with the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) portal before the procurement of paddy begins.
About Public finance management system(PFMS):
- PFMS is an online platform developed and implemented by the office of the Controller General of Accounts(CGA) under the Union Ministry of Finance.
- The PFMS portal is used to make direct payments to beneficiaries of government schemes.
- In the present case,the linking will allow the government to monitor the accounts of farmers to ensure they get the payment for their crops from the arhatiyas.
- Arhatiyas are commission agents.They are powerful figures in Punjab’s rural landscape.
- Arhatiyas are also moneylenders who fund farmers’ requirements of cash for both cropping operations and personal and social requirements.
- They have opposed the idea of linking of farmers account with PFMS as they fear that the linking is only one step short of the government deciding to make payments directly to farmers cutting the agents out all together.