Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
More than 20 million additional farmers will get two instalments of Rs 2,000 each ahead of the forthcoming general elections, following the go-ahead by the Election Commission to the government to resume payments under its minimum income support scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), to small and marginal landowners who were identified before the polls were announced.
The government has already paid 27.5 million farmers the first instalment under the Rs 75,000-crore cash transfer scheme. These farmers will get the second instalment, which is due on April 1. Another 20.1 million farmers, who were identified but not paid before the model code of conduct for general elections kicked in on March 10, will get two instalments in quick succession.
PM-KISAN CEO Vivek Agrawal told ET that the government will transfer the second instalment to those farmers who have been paid the first instalment. “We will be able to transfer the first instalment also to remaining farmers out of 4.76 crore whose names have been uploaded on portal before the model code of conduct came into force,” he said.
MORE THAN 65% BENEFICIARIES IN BJP-RULED STATES
The Election Commission has allowed the government to continue schemes for which specific beneficiaries were identified before the model code of conduct came into force.
“Now there is a possibility that some farmers whose names were enrolled in the portal by March 10 May get both instalments of Rs 2,000 each in April,” said a senior agriculture department official, who did not wish to be identified.
Under the PM-KISAN scheme, announced in the interim budget for 2019-20 and formally launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24, farmers owning up to two hectares will get Rs 6,000 a year in three equal instalments. The Centre transfers cash to bank accounts of beneficiaries identified by states.ET had earlier reported that the government had sought the view of the Election Commission about cash transfer under the scheme owing to the forthcoming general elections. So far, the government has transferred around Rs 5,500 crore to 27.5 million farmers. “The government will be able to release another chunk of Rs 5,500 crore to that many farmers before the election,” said the official.
More than 65% beneficiaries are in BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat which took the lead in identifying farmers who are eligible under the scheme. Uttar Pradesh, which has about 20% of India’s small and marginal farmers, as per the agricultural census 2015, has 10.2 million beneficiaries, the highest in the country, followed by Andhra Pradesh (3.3 million), Gujarat (2.6 million), Tamil Nadu (1.77 million), Telangana (1.76 million) and Maharashtra (1.51 million).
Among Congress-ruled states, the number is negligible or nil in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Rajasthan while Punjab has identified around 956,000 farmers and Chhattisgarh has listed 88,448. West Bengal has not identified any beneficiaries under the scheme. Rajasthan has around 5.5 million small and marginal farmers, out of which the state government has sent names of around 127,000 farmers under the scheme.
By BOA Bureau