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Direct Benefit Transfer of power subsidy

Date: 31 May 2020 Tags: Agriculture


A new bill by the Punjab Government has proposed providing subsidy on power to farmers through Direct Benefit of Transfer (DBT), which would be different from the prevailing ‘free power’ system.



Experts and farmers say that under the garb of DBT, it is a move to stop the free power supply to them. So, a big challenge lies ahead for the Punjab government.



  • At present, Punjab is supplying free power to 14.16 lakh electricity-run tubewells of the agriculture sector which are getting power through 5,900 Agricultural Pumpset Feeders (APFs).

  • These APFs are metered and the Punjab State Power Corporation charges the state government Rs 5.26 per unit for consumed units recorded in metered APFs.

  • There are no individual meters installed on every tubewell in Punjab, which is among the first states to separate agriculture sector feeders.

  • Farmers are getting power supply for their Kharif and Rabi crops from these feeders as per the recommendations of the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana. It is supplied for around eight hours every day in Kharif season and four hours on alternate days during Rabi crop season.

  • Under DBT, farmers will have to pay the bill for the power consumed for agriculture purposes. After that, they will get the subsidy in their bank accounts through DBT. A meter would be installed on every individual tubewell.

  • In Punjab, 67 per cent farmers come under the small and marginal categories with 1-2 hectares land. Paying bills in advance is not possible for them due to debt.

  • The bill suggests the subsidy be paid directly to consumers in cash on the pattern of LPG subsidy. This proposal should be tried in a pilot project and if results are encouraging, only then it should be included in the amendment bill, according to experts.

  • Farmers organisations have already planned to hold massive protests on May 30 and 31 at subdivision level in Punjab and will observe ‘Black Day’ on June 1 along with several other organisations opposing the bill.

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