Political scheme? Slow PM-Kisan rollout in most Opposition-ruled states

New Delhi | Published: March 12, 2019 6:14:03 AM

In the politically important Uttar Pradesh, where 2.22 crore of the 12 crore target population reside, the coverage so far has been a creditable 47%.

pm kisan scheme, farm sector, farm indistryTelangana, which has been successfully implementing the so-called Rythu Bandhu scheme for farmers after digitisation of land records, has seen 4.21 lakh farmers’ data rejected by the Centre.

By Prabhudutta Mishra

Many states that figure prominently on India’s agriculture map seem to have shown little efficiency or alacrity in completing the necessary formalities to ensure their farmers the income support announced by the Centre under the PM-Kisan scheme. As on March 9, only 2.6 crore or just 21% of the 12 crore-plus ‘small and marginal farmers’ in the country received the first tranche of Rs 2,000 each in their bank accounts under PM- Kisan, while the plan is to take the benefit to all the target population by March-end.uriously, among the laggard states are Opposition-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Karnataka where the scheme has practically not been rolled out at all. Among the NDA states, Haryana (82%) and Gujarat (73%) have done very well while Bihar (0.8%) and Maharashtra (12.7%) have barely managed to cover much ground.

Among the Opposition-ruled states, the best performer is Punjab (73%). In the politically important Uttar Pradesh, where 2.22 crore of the 12 crore target population reside, the coverage so far has been a creditable 47%.

The states are required to upload the Aadhaar and bank account details of the farmers for the cash transfer on the designated website. While the compliance level of each state with this requirement could not be ascertained, sources said many large states need to improve their readiness for the PM-Kisan transfer. In fact, the MP and Bengal governments have openly criticised the PM-Kisan scheme —while the former said the amount being offered to each farmer (`6,000/year) is ‘paltry’, the latter said its Krishak Bondhu scheme which offers an annual grant of `5,000/acre to farmers in two instalments for both the summer and winter crops is superior to PM-Kisan. The non-compliant states have also flayed the Centre for “lack of proper guidelines” for the scheme.

“As the election schedule has been announced and model code of conduct has come into force, the state government staff may not be able to put in the same efforts from now on to collate the data,” said an expert. The Centre transferred Rs 5,215 crore until Sunday, out of the Rs 20,000 crore provided in the Budget for this year. The farmers who received the first tranche of `2,000 within this month will also get the second instalment during the first week of April itself, the sources said.

In the interim Budget on February 1, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, under which Rs 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 acres or less. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 inaugurated its implementation in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, during which 1.01 crore farmers received a total of Rs 2,021 crore.

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“Benefit of over Rs 5,215 crore transferred directly into the bank accounts of more than 2.6 crore small and marginal farmers within 37 days of announcement of the scheme!,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a tweet on Sunday. “Would be first scheme where such an amount has been transferred to so many beneficiaries in such a short span of time,” the PMO said.

Telangana, which has been successfully implementing the so-called Rythu Bandhu scheme for farmers after digitisation of land records, has seen 4.21 lakh farmers’ data rejected by the Centre.
“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 had told FE earlier.

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