The government on Wednesday extended Aadhaar seeding date till November 30 to avail Rs 6,000 benefit under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme to help farmers buy farm inputs ahead of rabi sowing season.
The decision in this regard was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Under PM-Kisan scheme, the government is providing annually Rs 6,000 in three equal installments to 14 crore farmers. The amount is directly transferred into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
Aadhaar seeding was mandated to avail the installment after August 1, 2019. However, it was exempted to farmers of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir till March 2020.
"The mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding was taking time and therefore we have relaxed the norm till November 30," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told media after the meeting.
This will enable immediate release of benefit to a large number of farmers who are not able to avail the same due to the mandatory requirement, he said.
The minister further said that the PM-Kisan is an unique scheme as about 14 crore farmers will get Rs 87,000 crore.
Already, 7 crore farmers have received the benefit.
"The only two states which have not joined the scheme are Delhi and West Bengal," he added.
Javadekar said the extension of the date will help farmers buy crop inputs for the forthcoming rabi sowing season.
Since the farmers are still gearing up for the rabi (winter) season, they are in dire need of money to take care of various farming activities like procurement of seeds, preparation of soil and other activities like irrigation, maintenance and mobilization of machinery and tools.
Over and above these pressing needs, the just started festive season will put further stress on the financial condition of the poor farmers' households in the country.
"Non-seeding of beneficiaries' details with Aadhaar number will delay the release of further instalments and will cause discontentment among the farmers. Therefore, the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding has been relaxed...," an official statement said.
The government also said the mandatory requirement will remain applicable for release of benefits with effect from December 1, 2019 onwards. Adequate measures will be taken to validate the data before payment is made.
More than Rs 27,000 crore has already been released under the scheme through the first instalment to 6.76 crore, second instalment to 5.14 crore beneficiaries and third instalment to 1.74 crore beneficiaries, the statement added.