Why has the government reduced funding for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana? What happens to those who received funds under it, but are not intended beneficiaries? Here’s a lowdown on what the government intends to do to recover the amount.
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Following Budget 2021, presented recently by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana is back in the news. For fiscal 2021-22, the Centre has allocated Rs 650 billion to the scheme, the same as last year’s revised budget. The original amount allocated in last year’s budget was Rs 750 billion, and the opposition as well as farmers’ leaders have flayed the slashing of the budget by Rs 100 billion.
On the other hand, the government has made it clear that the number of farmers benefited by the PM Kisan Yojana is not being reduced. Rather, the names of those not eligible are being removed and previous benefits being recovered, and deserving beneficiaries’ names are being added so that only the eligible get Rs 6,000 a year.
Replying to Congress MP Anand Sharma’s question in the Rajya Sabha on the low budgetary allowance for the scheme, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that while the scheme was launched with an estimate of 145 million farmers and allocation of Rs 750 billion, only 107.5 million farmers could be registered. “The Centre is trying to bring all farmers under the scheme. West Bengal has not yet joined this. Once it does, seven million more farmers will be added,” he said.
As per data provided by Minister Tomar in the Lok Sabha, till January 22 this year, Rs 1117.62 billion was sent to about 107 million farmers’ accounts (except in West Bengal). But, it was found that among those, about 3.3 million farmers pay income tax and are ineligible to receive this money. The amount due from them is being recovered.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, farmers who own land get three instalments of Rs 2,000 a year. However, this comes with conditions. Even if they own and cultivate land, central and state government employees, pensioners receiving more than Rs 10,000, doctors, engineers, auditors and lawyers, besides farmers paying income tax, and those in constitutional positions, present or former parliamentarians, legislators, mayors, panchayat chairpersons, are not eligible to receive this money.
According to official data, the most number of ineligible farmers have been found in Tamil Nadu (696,989), followed by Assam (581,652), Punjab (469,978), Maharashtra (3,55,443), Gujarat (210,490), Madhya Pradesh (204,437) and Uttar Pradesh (178,398). The highest recovery of Rs 1.58 billion has been made from Tamil Nadu while there has been zero recovery in Uttar Pradesh till January 22.