More than 4 million small farmers in Uttar Pradesh are yet to receive the first instalement of the PM Kisan scheme, even as the Modi government has extended the scheme to include all 145 million farmers in the country.
This is because the state agriculture department has held up payments to accounts that were either having data discrepancies or were with non-public financial management system (PFMS) compliant banks.
All transfers made by the government are facilitated through the PFMS, which transfers subsidies directly to beneficiaries' bank/post office accounts, enhancing transparency and accountability.
So far,11 million farmers in the state have received first installment of Rs 2,000 in their bank accounts, while the process to enlist the remaining farmers continue.
According to a senior agricultural department official, the issue has been brought to the notice of central government officials and it was likely to be resolved soon by weeding out faulty/double entries and upgrading the regional rural and cooperative banks to be PFMS compliant.
Last month, UP principal secretary, agriculture, Amit Mohan Prasad had directed district magistrates to identify remaining beneficiaries, expected to be around 10 million, and enlist them in the PM Kisan portal by June 15.
Since, the Centre has now expanded the purview of the scheme, all UP farmers – estimated at 23.8 million or more than 16 per cent of total pan India beneficiaries – are now eligible for the scheme.
Earlier, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM Kisan) was targetted to benefit nearly 120 million small and marginal farmers, of which UP had topped with 21.5 million or 18 per cent of beneficiaries. The central government’s flagship scheme entitles each beneficiary with Rs 6,000 annually, payable in equal installment of Rs 2,000 every four months (Dec-Mar, Apr-July and Aug-Nov cycles).
However, in its maiden cabinet meeting on May 31, as promised by the ruling BJP in its 2019 election manifesto, the new NDA government removed all pre-conditions and brought all farmers, numbering 145 million across India, under its ambit.
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur on February 24, 2019. The ruling BJP had deliberately chosen Gorakhpur to launch the scheme to reassert the importance of UP in the broader political narrative in run up to the Lok Sabha polls, since it elects the maximum number of 80 Lok Sabha members. Of estimated 23.8 million farmers in UP, more than 90 per cent or 21.5 million come under "small and marginal" category.
Meanwhile, the UP government is likely to provide benefit of farm loan waiver, announced in 2017, to nearly 300,000 state farmers, who could not avail of the scheme earlier.