By Prasanta Sahu & Prabhudatta Mishra
With many states apparently not in a hurry to complete the formalities to ensure the income support announced by the government reach the farmers, the Centre has managed to spent just `8,000 crore or 40% of the planned `20,000 crore under the PM Kisan scheme in FY19.
Savings of `12,000 crore in the scheme could come in handy for the government struggling to meet its tax collection target. It must have still resorted to spending cuts to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.4% of the GDP.
The Centre’s fiscal deficit shot up to 134.2% of the revised estimate for 2018-19 in the April-February period, according to data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Friday. In absolute terms, the deficit in the 11 months stood at `8.51 lakh crore against the revised estimate of `6.34 lakh crore.
In the Interim Budget on February 1, the Centre announced had the `75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme, under which `6,000 per year would be disbursed in three equal instalments to over 12 crore small and marginal farmers having a cultivable land of 5 acre or less.
Till March 10, the day from which the model code of conduct became effective for general elections in April-May, data of as many as 4.76 crore farmers with their names and other details had been uploaded by states in a designated portal. According to the Election Commission’s guidelines, work on projects could continue by the government agencies without reference to it if “specific beneficiaries have been identified, by name, before coming of Model Code into force”.
However, the Centre has confirmed only 4 crore beneficiaries so far and has asked states to verify data of the remaining 76 lakh farmers after the first level validation. The states might have not captured the details of identity including Aadhaar or Aadhaar enrolment number of these farmers.
As many as 2.97 crore farmers have received the PM-Kisan benefit of `2000 until March 28. The Centre is trying to ensure that all 4 crore farmers whose data have been validated receive `4,000 each
(the first two instalments) by April-end.
As FE had reported earlier, the Centre’s direct tax receipts would likely fall short of the revised estimate (RE) by around `50,000 crore and if other Budget numbers hold true, this would necessitate a corresponding expenditure compression to meet the fiscal deficit estimate.
According to sources, capital expenditure could turn out to be some `30,000 crore less than the RE of `3.16 lakh crore while revenue spending could trail the RE of `21.4 lakh crore by `20,000 crore. The fresh controls on expenditure could have a bearing on the economic growth in Q4 of this fiscal.