As per available data, over 9.92 crore farmers, out of the total 14.5 crore farmers holding land in the country have registered with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. Of these, 80 per cent have received all their due instalments. However, more than 4.5 crore farmers are still out of this scheme.
About 67-lakh farmers across India are not getting the money under PM-Kisan scheme due to the wrong details. Photo: Abhishek Verma
The government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, commonly known as PM-Kisan, in February, 2019. Under the scheme, the government promised to provide Rs 6,000 per year to small and marginal landholding farmer families, owning up to two hectares land, across the country in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each, transferred to the farmers’ bank accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), every four months, starting from December 1, 2018.
This announcement was made by then Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the Interim Union Budget of India, a couple of months before the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. Later, the scheme was revised and extended to all farmer families irrespective of their landholdings. The government pushed all its machinery for faster implementation of the scheme. It succeeded in crediting the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to a few crore farmers by the first week of March, 2019.
Thanks to the election rush, the money for the first two instalments was credited in farmers’ bank accounts without strict verification.
Many farmers who registered on the portal couldn’t get the prescribed money due to discrepancies in the IFSC code, bank account numbers and Aadhaar data keyed in mostly by government officials. To prevent this, the government later started online registration and correction of details through Common Service Centres (CSC) on PM-Kisan portal.
The government also wanted to make matching details on Aadhaar and bank account details mandatory for the third instalment due on August 2019-November 2019 but the state governments showed inability to do that verification process in a short time. Owing to this, the Centre relaxed this mandate and made Aadhaar verification mandatory for December 2019-March 2020 onward.
This verification process led to identification of mismatch in name on the bank account, registered name on the portal and Aadhaar of many, and resulted in the stoppage of payments to crores of farmers. However, the government allowed them to get the details corrected and promised to disburse the money due for all periods since their registration date on portal.
The government also clarified on the portal that farmers will get all instalments for the period after they registered on the portal and not for the period before it. For example, a farmer registering on portal on August 15, 2019, wouldn’t get money for December 2018-March 2019 and April 2019-July 2019 but would get all further instalments of Rs 2,000.
This clause, however, is not widely known to all farmers. Lack of awareness regarding the rule has been huge. This led to farmers waiting for all five instalments (December 2018-March 2019, April 2019-July 2019, August 2019-November 2019, December 2019-March 2020, April 2020-July 2020) released by the government.
The district and state-wise report shown on the PM-Kisan portal is not clear. It only gives the number of farmers who benefitted and how many instalments they have received. It doesn’t talk about the registration period or for which period the money has been given for. This has created a lot of confusion.
The beneficiary status under farmers’ corner on PM Kisan website shows the date of registration and status of the amount credited in the bank in a better way. It still doesn’t divulge the time period of instalments. From the date of registration mentioned in that portal, the farmer can know whether they have got due payments or not by entering their Aadhaar/account/mobile number.
The lack of clarity and awareness regarding the registration date clause led to various media reports citing fewer farmers getting the money under the scheme.
Recently, the government has added one more report page on the PM-Kisan portal mentioning the registration period and period of instalment for which farmers were paid (see: Registration period and period of instalment ).
Registration period and period of instalment
This removes much confusion as the updated data clearly shows, with time, more farmers are added to the scheme and the eligible amounts have been credited to most of them. As on June 21, 2020, 8.44 crore farmers have received money due for December 2019-March 2020. In the lockdown period for which the government announced to frontload the instalment, 8.34 crore farmers have got Rs 2,000 in their bank accounts for April 2020-July 2020 period so far.
A close look at the December 2019-March 2020 data shows the number of payments has reduced from the earlier period significantly. This is mostly due to the failure of Aadhaar verification which was made mandatory from this period onward. There are lakhs of farmers who have stopped getting the money after November 2019 due to the mismatch of Aadhaar details. However, the money will get credited to their bank accounts once corrections are made.
The government has launched a campaign to correct details of such farmers in the April-May months. Data analysis shows that about 80 per cent of farmers across all the registration periods have received all the instalments they were eligible for (see graph: PM-Kisan payment status as on June 21, 2020). Aadhaar verification was started in the December 2019-March 2020 period mentioned in green, indicating a sharp decline in payment due to Aadhaar mismatch.
There are still about 67-lakh farmers across India who are not getting the money due to the wrong details.
As per government estimates of landholding, India has 14.5 crore farmers holding land. So far, around 9.92 crores have registered under PM-Kisan. More than 4.5 crore farmers across India are still out of PM-Kisan scheme. Out of this 4.5 crore farmers, 75-lakh farmers are from West Bengal alone as the state government denied being part of this central government scheme.
There seems to be a lack of awareness, the inefficiency of government machinery, lack of access to the internet for the remaining 3.75 crore farmers who are yet to be covered under this scheme.
Sachin Pandey is a PhD scholar at IISER, Kolkata. Views are personal