New Delhi: Over 1.5 crore farmers across the country who are in the list of registered beneficiaries under PM-Kisan, are yet to receive the latest instalment of the scheme, which was advanced to April under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). The first instalment was supposed to be paid at the end of July.
Until 23 June, 8,38,78,120 had received the Rs 2,000 instalment for the April-July period out of the total 9,93,25,834 farmers registered under the scheme, according to documents accessed by ThePrint.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, the central government provides Rs 6,000 per year to all eligible farmer families across the country in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each every four months.
However, shortly after the Covid lockdown was imposed in March, the Modi government announced that it will front-load the first payment of Rs 2,000 under PMGKY in a bid to provide support to farmers in view of the pandemic and its economic effects.
A Union agriculture ministry official who didn’t wish to be named said the responsibility of validation of land records of the farmers to be beneficiaries of this scheme along with the distribution of funds lies with the state authorities.
“A large number of farmers which are excluded belong to the self-registration category which was recently opened up for the farmers across the country and the procedure to get it cross-verified is still ongoing in these states,” said the official.
“Though there have been three months since the disbursal of money under the scheme began to the farmers and the numbers of beneficiaries still get added up, the instalment is for April to July and the state can still complete the procedure by then,” added the official.
The situation in states
Of the farmers who were yet to receive the latest disbursal, nearly one-third belong to Uttar Pradesh — 54.14 lakh beneficiaries. This is the highest number of farmers in any state in the country who haven’t received the payment, showed the data.
In UP, 1,73,99,555 farmers have received the latest instalment under PM-Kisan. However, this figure is also short by around 6 lakh who received the previous instalment under the scheme for December 2019-March 2020.
“The process of beneficiary verification is a coordinated effort between officials of state agriculture department and district administration. This time it was delayed due to Covid lockdown and procurement drive of Rabi harvest,” said a UP agriculture department official who didn’t wish to be named.
“Also, there have been newly added beneficiaries due to recent self registration process which has further complicated the process and raised the number of beneficiaries which are yet to receive the latest batch of money under the scheme,” added the official.
Odisha is second on the list of states with the maximum number of farmers who haven’t received the latest disbursal — 17 lakh farmers, or around 46 per cent of registered beneficiaries.
It is followed by Maharashtra (14 lakh farmers, or 14 per cent) and Rajasthan (12 lakh farmers, or 19 per cent). In Assam, over 40 per cent of the registered farmers haven’t received the instalment.
The states of Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have around 6 lakh farmers who are yet to receive the latest disbursal. In Kerala, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, this figure is at around 4 lakh farmers.
“Every time for the disbursal of instalment under the PM-Kisan scheme, a lot of farmers record is issued by the central government for verification against the money to be distributed. We have to verify this lot at district and tehsil level to check whether the beneficiary is eligible or not under current land record. This takes some time for verification and leads to further delay,” said an official from the agriculture department of Odisha who didn’t wish to be named.
On an overall basis, the states of Jharkhand and Bihar remain the major laggards in the implementation of the PM-Kisan scheme.
Only 36 per cent of the farmers out of the total registered beneficiaries in Jharkhand have received all four instalments under the scheme, which was launched in 2018.
Similarly, in Bihar, around 48 per cent of farmers have received the four dispatches of the PM-Kisan scheme.