With 2019 elections Lok Sabha elections now over, the Yogi Adityanath government has undertaken an extensive drive to enroll nearly 11 million targetted beneficiaries under ‘PM Kisan’, the Centre’s flagship minimum income guarantee scheme for poor farmers.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM Kisan) is targetted at over 120 million small and marginal farmers across India, of which Uttar Pradesh comprises the maximum number of about 21.4 million, or nearly 18% of beneficiaries. PM Kisan is estimated to cost the central exchequer Rs 75,000 crore annually even as it guarantees income of Rs 6,000 annually, payable in equal instalment of Rs 2,000 every four months.
So far, more than 10 million UP farmers have already been enlisted and paid thier first installment of Rs 2,000 in their bank accounts, totalling more than Rs 2,000 crore in net payouts.
Now, UP principal secretary agriculture Amit Mohan Prasad has directed the respective district magistrates to identify the remaining targetted beneficiaries and enlist them by June 15.
The mega scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Gorakhpur on February 24, 2019.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had deliberately chosen Gorakhpur to launch the scheme to reassert the importance of UP in the broader political roadmap, since the state elects the maximum number of 80 Lok Sabha members.
Earlier, UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi had told Business Standard that more than 10 million farmers had received money in their bank accounts.
Compared to Western UP, agricultural land holdings in Eastern UP are comparatively smaller, because of which the area has a higher percentage of small and marginal agriculturists. Besides, the economy in Purvanchal (Eastern UP) is largely dependent upon agriculture vis-a-vis Western UP, which has a higher concentration of small, medium and large industries owing to its vicinity to the National Capital Region (NCR) and better road connectivity.
This is one reason that the BJP had harped on agricultural oriented themes in its election messaging in Eastern UP. Besides, Modi, during his election meetings, also announced that after returning to power, the BJP government would waive off the parameters set for benefits under PM Kisan.
Of the estimated 23 million farmers in UP, 92.5% or 21.5 million are categorised as small and marginal.