In view of the Covid-19 crisis, the Central government will advance the first installment of PM-KISAN payout for the April-June quarter that will ensure that almost 85 million eligible growers get nearly Rs 16,000 crore by first week of April.
Officials said according to their estimates, around 85 million farmers are eligible to get the first installement of Rs 2,000 under PM-KISAN into their bank accounts by end of June 30, but due to the Covid-19 crisis, all of them will get it early.
“We already have got approvals and in the process of finalising the disbursals which will ensure that around Rs 16,000 crore gets transferred into the bank account of farmers by first week of April,” a senior official said.
He said this will enable growers to somewhat tide over the difficult financial position due to closure of mandis and difficulties in selling their harvested produce.
So far in 2019-20, the Central government has distributed almost Rs 54,000 crore through PM-KISAN,a scheme under which it gives Rs 2,000 per quarter to growers to meet their input cost requirement.
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In the 2020-21 Budget, the Centre allocated Rs 75,000 crore for the scheme to cover almost 145 million farmers.
Till March 3, 2020), enrollments under the scheme have been estimated at about 97 million, of which records of almost 90 million farmers have been validated.
PM-KISAN is one of the flagship schemes of the Modi government which aims to provide some income support to growers ahead of their sowing season to enable them to purchase inputs and not fall into the debt trap.
A vast section within the government and also the experts believe that the database so generated through PM-KISAN could be used more intelligently, so that it gradually forms the master database for transfer of most Central subsidies directly into the bank account of growers.
At present, a dashboard has been created in the PM-KISAN website which contains details of most Central government schemes for farmers and their updated progress numbers.
Going forward there could be attempts to use this information more efficiently as PM-KISAN will provide the government with a ready database of all land holding farmers.
Already, the database is being used to identify beneficiaries for PM’s Pension Scheme for farmers.
However, the big problem is any move to provide relief through the PM-KISAN platform will necessarily exclude landless workers or tenant farmers as the scheme takes into consideration only those growers who own land.
It is here that things could get slightly complicated because unless tenant farmers are incorporated into the scheme of things the entire initiative could remain exercise in futility.
The reason for this is that studies by former head of NITI Aayog panel on land reforms, Professor T Haque, show that about 57 per cent of the leased area in the kharif season and 54 per cent in rabi were on short-term leases and did not have tenurial security and stability.