CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Government has been diligently urging the central government to release the long-pending Rural Development Fund (RDF) amounting to Rs 4,000 crores for the last six months. Despite multiple requests and written appeals, the central government has yet to address this critical concern, leaving Punjab grappling with a deepening financial crisis.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, representing the state, has sternly warned of resorting to legal action if the funds are not released promptly. This pressing issue has been communicated to the central government six times through official letters from the Chief Minister's office, emphasizing the urgency of the matter.
Agriculture Minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian has announced his intent to personally meet the Union Agriculture Minister and Union Finance Minister to advocate for the release of RDF. Prior to this, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann personally presented the case for RDF to various Union Ministers, seeking their support to expedite the allocation.
In a recent all-party meeting, Aam Aadmi Party's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh underscored Punjab's dire need for financial aid by announcing the RDF allocation of Rs 4,000 crores. Given Punjab's status as a border state, an appeal for a special package has also been made. However, despite these collective efforts, the central government has remained unresponsive, exacerbating Punjab's financial shortfall.
Notably, The state of Punjab is grappling with a financial crisis, further exacerbated by an outstanding debt of about Rs 5,800 crores owed by the center. The outstanding Rural Development Fund (RDF) from the last four procurement sessions has accumulated to Rs 3,600 crore, now standing at approximately Rs 4,000 crore. Additionally, Rs 600 crore under the National Health Mission (NHM) and Rs 1,600 crore of special capital assistance remain unreleased, further contributing to the state's financial strain. The urgency to release these funds is critical to address pressing developmental and health needs within the state.