Coronavirus relief measures: Govt front-loads PM Kisan disbursal for 9 crore farmers

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March 27, 2020 12:16 AM

While the budget estimate for the scheme for FY20 was Rs 75,000 crore, the revised estimate is Rs 54,370 crore. The outlay for FY21 is again Rs 75,000 crore.

Initially, the scheme was meant to cover only small and marginal farmers, but later it was expanded for all land-owning farmers.

The Centre will disburse April-July instalment of Rs 2,000 each to about 9 crore farmers under its flagship PM-Kisan scheme immediately, front-loading release of the money which was otherwise to be transferred by mid-April latest. Under the scheme, launched in February 2019, each beneficiary farmer is entitled to get Rs 6,000 every year in three equal instalments as direct income support.

The Centre has so far transferred a total of Rs 53,180 crore into the bank accounts of 8.8 crore, 7.8 crore, 6.5 crore and 3.4 crore farmers (not mutually exclusive sets) as first, second, third and fourth installments of PM-Kisan, respectively.

Initially, the scheme was meant to cover only small and marginal farmers, but later it was expanded for all land-owning farmers with some exclusion criteria estimated at 14 crore. The total number of farmers expected to be covered by the current scheme may be around 11 crore by the end of next fiscal.

Of the 14 crore farmers estimated to get the PM-Kisan benefit, the Centre has validated data of as many as 9.2 crore farmers. West Bengal, with an estimated over 70 lakh farmers, is the only state out of the ambit of PM-Kisan as it has refused to share and authenticate farmers’ data.

While the budget estimate for the scheme for FY20 was Rs 75,000 crore, the revised estimate is Rs 54,370 crore. The outlay for FY21 is again Rs 75,000 crore. “However, the government is also considering whether to allow tenant farmer under the ambit of PM-Kisan and in that case the number may further go up,” an official said referring to a suggestion by the Parliamentary Standing committee. But the real challenge is how to debar one class of farmers as for the same land two farmers (both owner and tenant) cannot claim benefit, the official said. The committee has asked the agriculture ministry to decide by June 3 whether landless and tenant farmers can also be given benefits available under PM-Kisan.

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