By Saurabh Katkurwar
New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The ambitious PM-KISAN scheme that aims to provide Rs 6,000 annually to small and marginal farmers will reach only 38 per cent of the intended beneficiaries by the end of ongoing Lok sabha polls, thanks to tardy furnishing of information by the states, lack of digitised land records and the election Model Code of Conduct being in force, according to government officials involved in its implementation.
The scheme, announced in the interim budget on February 1 with retrospective effect from December 2018, was seen as Narendra Modi government’s major poll plank to address rural distress..
Under the scheme, direct income support of Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments is to be provided to about 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers with land holdings below two hectares or five acres.
The officials cited delays in sharing of required information and its verification by the states and unavailability of digitised land records as major reasons for the scheme not reaching all the intended beneficiaries.
So far, close to 3.5 crore (28 per cent) of the country’s farmers have been given Rs 2,000 as the first instalment through the direct benefit transfer under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN), with Uttar Pradesh alone crossing the one crore mark.
Barring Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Lakshawdeep, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Sikkim and West Bengal, all the other 22 states and 5 union territories have either sent the names of the beneficiaries to the central government or are in process of doing so.
Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand are among the states where the number of beneficiaries has touched the six-digit mark and yet, the majority of eligible farmers are still far from reaping the benefits of the scheme.
Thus, a maximum of 4.76 crore (38 per cent) farmers will be able to get the second installment as the Agriculture Ministry has decided to process only those enrollments that happened till March 10, When the Model Code of Conduct came into effect with the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, an official close to the development said.
“We are going to verify the names enrolled till March 10. So there are 4.76 crore beneficiaries who are eligible will get the second installment,” said an official.
The second installment of Rs 2,000 is supposed to help farmers in procuring inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, among others.
The scheme is designed on the lines of Odisha government’s KALIA and Telangana government’s Rythu Bandhu schemes, under which farmers are assured of financial support of Rs 10,000 and Rs 8,000 per annum, respectively.
The central scheme, which was seen as a gamechanger ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, seems to have lost steam after the Congress announced its ‘Nyay’ scheme to give Rs 6,000 monthly to the bottom 20 per cent population of around five crore families.
The ruling BJP has promised extension of the PM KIASAN scheme to all farmers in the country if it is returned to power again after the Lok Sabha elections. The results of the seven-phased polls will be announed on May 23
(Saurabh Katkurwar can be contacted at [email protected])