The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi was made effective from December 1, 2018, so that by March 31, the first instalment can be paid to eligible farmers.
The Centre is set to transfer Rs 2,000 each to at least 54.7 lakh small and marginal farmers on the first day of the implementation of the PM-Kisan scheme, which is scheduled to be made operational by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24.
However, depending on the validation of farmers’ data by the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), the number of beneficiaries could exceed 1 crore on the first day of the transfer, official sources said.
“We have been able to collect and verify a database of 2.2 crore small and marginal farmers until February 20,” a government official said, adding that many states have cooperated in this exercise.
Finance minister Piyush Goyal had announced the PM-Kisan scheme in the Interim Budget under which Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments will be put directly into the bank accounts of over 12 crore small and marginal farmers having less than 5 acres of land. The scheme was made effective from December 1, 2018, so that by March 31, the first instalment is completed, making farmers eligible for the second tranche from April.
The Centre has rejected as many as 43 lakh entries of farmers after first-level scrutiny in which the Aadhaar status is checked. The second level is done through PFMS, a web-based application used for direct benefit transfer of government’s schemes. The PFMS is in the process of validating bank details of about 58 lakh farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan).
Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam and Haryana are some of the major states which have submitted the maximum number of data of farmers. West Bengal, Rajasthan and Karnataka had not uploaded any data on the PM-Kisan portal till Wednesday. Madhya Pradesh had submitted data of 4,892 farmers and all of them have been rejected, the sources said. Similarly, Chhattisgarh has uploaded information of only 83 farmers.
The reasons for the large-scale rejection of farmers’ data could not be immediately ascertained. For instance, Telangana, which has been successfully implementing the Rythu Bandhu scheme after digitisation of land records, has seen as high as 4.21 lakh farmers’ data rejected by the Centre. The state has submitted data of over 15 lakh farmers.
“If the government does not have data about farmers, how would they decide whom to give money? Then it can be anyone, not necessarily farmers. That will not help redressing farmers’ problems,” economist Ashok Gulati said. “It is too late in the game that the Central government has woken up. Streamlining land records of farmers and linking them to Aadhaar and their Jan-Dhan bank accounts should have started two years ago. Now, it will be random distribution of money,” he said.