In the interim Budget on February 1, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme.
By Prabhudatta Mishra
The Centre has written to the Election Commission (EC), seeking removal of the bar on use of data on “small and marginal farmers” received from the state governments after Parliament elections were announced on March 10 to give them income support under the PM-Kisan scheme. If the commission’s fiat is to be enforced, not more than 4.76 crore farmers can get the first tranche of Rs 2,000 under the scheme by March-end, while the target population is over 12 crore.
So far, the government has managed to transfer about Rs 5,500 crore to over 2.75 crore beneficiary bank accounts, just 22% of the target.
According to official sources, having been allocated Rs 20,000 crore under PM-Kisan this fiscal, the agriculture ministry has sought a clarification from the Commission on whether to include those whose ‘names’ have been forwarded by the states after the model code of conduct became effective, on the list of beneficiaries.
States had uploaded data of 4.76 crore farmers until March 10 on the designated website and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) is learnt to be maintaining the data received after the poll announcement separately.
As FE reported earlier, 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 the income support reach the farmers. Opposition-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Karnataka haven’t rolled out the scheme yet while Bihar also doesn’t seem to have pulled up its socks.
According to the EC’s manual of model code of conduct, the works on projects could continued by the government agencies without reference to it if “specific beneficiaries have been identified, by name, before coming of Model Code into force”.
“If states like Rajasthan do not cooperate, the Centre will not be able to reach even the 4.76 crore level,” a government official said. The data received by the Centre of those farmers who are yet to receive the income support are being verified and the amount will be transferred once the process is complete, the official added.
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.