Days after Chief Minister K Palaniswami said allowing applicants to register themselves online directly for the PM- Kisan Scheme led to the scam in availing the Rs 6,000 cash assistance, the BJP demanded that the state government take expeditious action against the culprits.
As a scam in implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme rocked Tamil Nadu, the BJP on Friday on demanded a special committee to inquire into it while saying there are also allegations of irregularities in other Central schemes like Awas Yojana. Days after Chief Minister K Palaniswami said allowing applicants to register themselves online directly for the PM- Kisan Scheme led to the scam in availing the Rs 6,000 cash assistance, the BJP demanded that the state government take expeditious action against the culprits. According to the state government, approximately Rs 110 crore had been credited to the bank accounts of about 5.5 lakh ‘ineligible’ people who fradulently got themselves registered under the PM-Kisan Scheme in the past few months in 13 districts of the state.
Of this, Rs 32 crore has been recovered so far, state Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi has said. There was a nexus between some officials and private internet centres in the scam and the government should immediately form a committee to inquire into the irregularities district wise, BJP state unit President L Murugan told reporters in Coimbatore. The Centre provides Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM- KISAN) scheme that was launched in December 2018.
On Wednesday, Palaniswami had told reporters in Tiruvannamali that “it is the Amma’s government that unearthed a scam in the PM-Kisan Scheme and ordered a CB-CID investigation and the probe is on.” When the number of beneficiaries mounted to 46 lakh from about 41 lakh in a span of four months, a suspicion arose and hence a probe was launched, he had said.
“The recovery (of assistance provided to ineligible people) process is on. Eighteen persons have been arrested, 81 contract employees have been dismissed and 34 departmental action taken against 34 officials. Legal action will be taken against all those who were involved in the scam,” the Chief Minister had added.
Murugan also defended the New Education Policy and said there was an opportunity to learn one’s mother tongue and also a language to be used at workplace. Noting that there was three language formula in CBSE and Matric schools and not in government schools, Murugan said DMK, which is opposing it, should explain how schools run by the party functionaries teach three languages.
BJP spokesperson Tirupathi Narayanan said there were also allegations of irregularities in construction of toilets and houses under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana respectively. “There are allegations of corruption involving crores of rupees in the construction of toilets and we also hear of irregularities in the issuance of Kisan Credit Cards,” he claimed.
“As regards the PM-Kisan scheme scam, it is a well planned conspiracy spread over several districts in Tamil Nadu and the government must intensify its action and bring all the culprits to book,” he told PTI. Though the Kisan Scheme is a Central scheme the implementing agency is the state government and only it has to ensure due diligence to see that the benefits of the initiative reached the intended beneficiaries, he said.
On the Kisan scheme scam, the DMK has said it was the state’s responsibility to cross check the claims submitted by applicants and identify bonafide beneficiaries. On Palaniswami blaming self-registration for the scam, DMK president M K Stalin accused him of resorting to “diversionary tactic”. During the times of the pandemic, the monetary assistance that should have gone to farmers has been “looted,” the DMK chief said.