Out of the total 8.80 crore beneficiaries, 8.35 crore small farmers were given an amount of Rs 2,000 as the first installment. However, in the second installment, the number fell to 7.51 crore
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
“I had thought that if I’d get Rs 2,000 it would be a help in farming, but I have not received anything so far. I am illiterate so I don’t understand what is wrong with my papers,” said Mohammad Alam, 58, who had come to rectify his documents at the Krishi Bhawan.
Mohammad Alam is a resident of Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh. He had been doing the rounds of the Krishi Bhavan in his district to put his documents required for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, in order.
The second case is of Uday Bahadur Singh, a resident of Sakardaha village in Bihar block of Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. In the beginning, he had all the necessary documents submitted with the registrar. When he didn’t receive the money, he checked online and found that the money had already been sent three times. While the bank account number, the name everything was his, the IFSC code was of another bank.
In his speech at the Budget session of Parliament, President Ram Nath Kovind had said: “More than Rs 43,000 crore have been deposited in the bank account of more than eight crore farmer-households under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Fund.”
The Union Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana for small and marginal farmers having less than two hectares (4.9 acres) of landholding. This was announced in the interim Union Budget in February 2019. Under the scheme, the eligible farmer was to get Rs 6,000 in three instalments. But there have been reports of irregularities in most of the states of the country. Many farmers have not yet been able to get the benefit of the scheme while in the Budget 2020, the budget for the scheme has been increased from Rs 54,370 crore to Rs 75,000 crore.
Kiran Devi, a resident of Anagada block in Ranchi district of Jharkhand, works as a farmer aide in her panchayat. She had filled the forms of 280 people in her village, but only 100 people are getting the money. “We also help fill the forms of the people besides providing farming-related information in the village. I had done the registration for 280 people in my village but later when several didn’t receive their money, I inquired and found that their papers were not in order.”
“The Rs 2,000 would have helped the farmers. In many cases, despite submitting the required papers, nothing has been done so far,” said Rini Devi, a resident of Angada block in Ranchi district of Jharkhand. Under such a scheme, if the timely instalment is released to small and marginal farmers, they are able to procure raw materials like seeds and fertilizers. This not only speeds up farming but also increases the demand for consumer goods which benefits the economy and accelerates economic growth.
As per the data furnished by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to the Parliament, only 3.85 crore farmers have received all instalments till December 2019 while the scheme was launched in December 2018.
In Rajasthan, the Department of Cooperatives has been entrusted with the responsibility of Pradhan Mantri Samman Fund. “In Rajasthan too, there have been difficulties faced by many farmers whose account is not linked to their Aadhaar number,” said Narayan Singh, Joint Secretary, Department of Cooperatives.”
According to the PM Kisanwebsite of the Ministry of Agriculture, out of the total 8.80 crore beneficiaries identified under the scheme, 8.35 crore small farmers were given an amount of Rs 2,000 as the first instalment. In the second instalment, the number of beneficiaries has come down to 7.51 crore, the third is 6.12 crore and in the fourth instalment, there were only 3.01 crore (until January 25) beneficiaries. Only 25 per cent of the farmers have received three instalments, while 75 per cent of the farmers have not been able to get the benefit of the scheme.
“Not a single instalment has come to the Kisan Samman Nidhi account, the papers have been given to the registrar several times. They say: ‘This time it will come.’ But till today not a single instalment has come. The registrar says he will not be able to tell why and that he has already done his work,” said Manohar, 42, a resident of Masura Khurd village in Lalitpur Tehsil. Like Manohar, hundreds of farmers go to the Agriculture Department every day and deposit their papers. Each time they get an assurance that they will get the money, but the instalment from the Samman Fund does not come.
Manohar who has been for the fifth time in the Agriculture Department to submit his Aadhaar and passbook details, said: “I have not come for the first time but for the fifth time, leaving behind all the work back at home. The whole day is wasted in coming to the district office. After taking the papers, the officials say that this time I will get it but now I am not sure if I’d be able to receive any money from the Samman Fund.
“Standing near him was Balachandra Ahirwar, 34, who has 2.5 acres of land and hails from Taur village in Birdha block. He said: “I checked my bank account many times, but the money from the Samman Fund did not come! Now, I have come for the second time to submit these papers to the Agriculture Department.”
There are also numerous loopholes in this scheme launched for small farmers. It has been made mandatory to link bank accounts to Aadhaar to get benefits of the scheme. Probably, due to this, many small and marginal farmers are ruled out of the scheme and 1.4 crore farmers in Uttar Pradesh and 5.8 crore across the country are not likely to get the fourth instalment.
As per the website of PM Kisan Samman Fund, West Bengal is not included in the scheme and not a single farmer there is getting the benefit of the scheme. In states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, the number is on a constant decline. Out of 54.58 lakh farmers identified in Bihar, where the first instalment was released for 52.19 lakh farmers, it declined to 31.41 lakh in the third instalment. Similarly, 2.01 crore beneficiaries were identified in Uttar Pradesh. The first instalment was given to 1.85 crore farmers while in the third instalment, the number came down to 1.49 crore.
Talking about the falling numbers, Dr Pramod Kumar, professor and economist at Bengaluru-based Institute for Social and Economic Change, said: “The scheme was brought in with the intention of increasing the income of small farmers, but the data clearly shows that the list of beneficiaries is continuously declining. It says that a large number of farmers are getting out of the scheme. Discrepancies have been found in the data on the portal. Further, Aadhaar has been made mandatory to be linked to bank account for the benefit of the scheme. Probably because of this many small and marginal farmers have been disqualified from the scheme.”
He said that due to this, 1.4 crore farmers in Uttar Pradesh and 5.8 crore across the country are not likely to get the fourth instalment. Anil Kumar Sagar, agriculture deputy director, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, said: “As per the census of the year 2011, there are 4,66,000 farming households in our district, so far, more than five lakh farmers have been registered with us. It was all to be completed in a very short time, so many department people were engaged. There were many hasty mistakes, somebody’s Aadhaar number was wrongly recorded while somebody’s account number went wrong. There have been several cases where one’s Aadhaar number has been linked to someone else’s account; we are intimating such cases to the headquarters.”