PM-Kisan: Rs 7,384 crore transferred since April 1

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Published: April 7, 2020 2:20:57 AM

The target was to disburse April-July instalment of Rs 2,000 each to about 9 crore farmers ‘immediately’, front-loading release of the money which was otherwise to be transferred by mid-April latest.

Out of the total amount disbursed under PM-Kisan since the announcement of the package, over 65% was transferred on April 1, the first day of the new fiscal. Out of the total amount disbursed under PM-Kisan since the announcement of the package, over 65% was transferred on April 1, the first day of the new fiscal. (Representative image)

The Centre has transferred Rs 7,384 crore under the flagship direct income support scheme PM-Kisan since the Covid-19 relief package was announced last month, according to official data updated Monday.

The target was to disburse April-July instalment of Rs 2,000 each to about 9 crore farmers ‘immediately’, front-loading release of the money which was otherwise to be transferred by mid-April latest.

The government on March 26 had announced a ‘Rs 1.7-lakh-crore’ relief package for the poor and vulnerable sections of society. One component of the package was expeditious release of first instalment of PM-Kisan for FY21.

Out of the total amount disbursed under PM-Kisan since the announcement of the package, over 65% was transferred on April 1, the first day of the new fiscal. Under the scheme, launched in February 2019, each beneficiary farmer is entitled to get Rs 6,000 every year in three equal installments as direct income support.

“Over 43% of the targeted beneficiaries have received the benefit in just six days while the remaining will also get the installment very soon. We have not yet started disbursal to those who received four installments until March 31 as they are eligible to receive the fifth one (April-December period). As many as 3.5 crore farmers are eligible to get the fifth instalment and the total outgo will improve substantially after the benefit is transferred to them,” a source in the government said.

Over Rs 60,500 crore has been transferred into the bank accounts of 9.14 crore, 8.49 crore, 6.98 crore and 5.67 crore farmers (not mutually exclusive sets) as first, second, third and fourth installments of PM-Kisan, respectively as on April 6 since the scheme was launched in February last year.

Many of the land-owning migrant workers who have returned to their villages after the lock down will also need this PM-Kisan benefit. The government should fix a target and transfer the amount within a week, said Pushpendra Singh, president of Kisan Shakti Sangh. The Centre, as an adhoc measure, should top up Rs 2,000 in this installment immediately. The PM-Kisan benefit should also be raised to Rs 12,000/year by the Centre and additional equal contribution by states, he said.

“Farmers need the support badly to meet the labour costs so that they undertake harvesting of rabi crops. When trading in mandis has stopped, there is no hope of selling their produce in near future. Even milk prices have dropped by 30% and many farmers are unable to sell milk. So, the government’s financial support is crucial for farmers,” said Singh and added that this would help generate rural demand.

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, even as the agriculture ministry had sought Rs 60,180 crore for it. Initially, the scheme was meant to cover only small and marginal farmers, but later expanded for all land-owning farmers.

The total number of farmers expected to be covered by the current scheme may be around 11 crore by the end of FY21. So far, the government has validated data of about 9.4 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.

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