The Railways Ministry has decided to write off subsidy of ₹71.85 crore on Kisan Rail in 2021-22 after months of negotiations with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), which declined to make the payment.

According to Railway Ministry sources, a total subsidy of ₹121.85 crore was disbursed on Kisan Rail last fiscal as against a ceiling of ₹50 crore set by MoFPI.

It has also decided that starting this financial year, the subsidy on Kisan Rail will be treated as special credit in its accounts.

“The amount had to be written off as after repeated discussions, MoFPI said it can not allocate additional funds for the scheme,” a source said.

Indian Railways had launched the Kisan Rail service on August 7, 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. A 50 per cent subsidy was introduced by MoFPI on transportation of fruits and vegetables under ‘Operation Greens – Tops to Total’ scheme.

The subsidy was given upfront to the farmer or trader at the time of booking and was to be reimbursed by MoFPI to Ministry of Railways. South Central Railways was made the nodal for accounting.

The scheme has proven to be very popular. Up to June 30 this year, since its launch, the Railways had operated around 2,359 Kisan Rail services, transporting approximately 7.9-lakh tonnes of perishables.

The largest number of trains on an originated basis was from Maharashtra at 1,838 followed by Andhra Pradesh with 116 trains.

A subsidy of ₹27.8 crore was disbursed by Railways on Kisan Rail in 2020-21 and ₹4 crore up to June 30 this fiscal.

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