Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat lead in taking benefit of the government's ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme as the three states account for around 60 per cent of farmers who received the first payment of Rs 2,000, according the official data.
The government transferred the first installment of Rs 2,000 to each of 2.18 crore farmers in 23 states and one Union Territory under the PM-KISAN scheme. Of these, 1.32 crore farmers belong to the three states, the data showed.
The laggard state was Karnataka where only three farmers received the funds as on March 7.
"The scheme is being implemented efficiently and the first installment was released expeditiously," the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
It is a continuous scheme and the aim of the ministry is to cover all eligible small and marginal farmer families, it added.
According to the latest data, as many as 74.71 lakh farmers in Uttar Pradesh received the first installment, while 32.15 lakh farmers in Andhra Pradesh. Around 25.58 lakh farmers in Gujarat, 11.55 lakh farmers in Maharasthra, 14.41 lakh farmers in Telangana and 14.01 lakh farmers in Tamil Nadu got the first payment.
Among other states, 8.34 lakh farmers received the first installment in Haryana, 8.09 lakh farmers in Assam and 8.07 lakh farmers in Odisha as on Thursday, the data showed.
In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the central government had announced the PM-Kisan scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year will be given in three instalments to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares. It promised to give the first instalment of Rs 2,000 by March.
The scheme was formally launched at national level by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh by transferring the first tranche amount to 1.01 crore farmers entailing fund release of Rs 2,021 crore.
According to the ministry, the amount is being released by the central Government directly into the bank accounts of eligible farmers under Direct Benefit Transfer mode for a period of four months ending on March 31.
Around 12.5 crore farmers across the country will be benefitted from this Scheme. Under the scheme, the responsibility of identification of the eligible beneficiaries rests with the state government, it added.