New Delhi- The Centre on Monday said the number of beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN scheme has crossed 10 crore, increasing more than three-fold from 3.16 crore farmers covered under the first instalment period in early 2019.
The statement came hours after Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge attacked the government over the scheme, alleging that the number of beneficiaries has gone down with every instalment.
Under the scheme, announced in February 2019 but made operational with effect from December 2018, the Centre provides an income support of Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments to all land holding farmer families.
“The release of benefits for any instalment period under PM-KISAN has now crossed 10 crore farmers from 3.16 crore for the first instalment period — more than 3 times increase in over 3 years,” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
“PM-KISAN through a span of over 3 years has successfully provided assistance of more than Rs 2 lakh crore to crores of needy farmers. Of this amount, more than Rs 1.6 crore has been transferred since the lockdown due to the COVID pandemic,” it added.
The fund is being directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
So far, the Centre has released 12 instalments of funds under the scheme.
“Truly, PM-KISAN has been a game changer in reaching out directly to the farmers in the country, every four months, and in time of their need,” the ministry said.
The definition of family for the scheme is husband, wife and minor children. The state government or the UT administration concerned identifies the farmer families which are eligible for support as per the scheme guidelines. Certain categories of higher economic status are excluded from the scheme.
The ministry described the ambitious scheme as one of the largest DBT schemes in the world.
“The scheme has been able to reach out to crores of farmers, with no middlemen involved in between. Maintaining absolute transparency in the process of registration and verification of beneficiaries, Government of India has been able to transfer benefits within minutes of press of a button by Prime Minister during the bulk release events,” the statement said.
There are many studies and findings, which indicate that the scheme has helped farmers towards productive investment in agriculture activities, it added.
Stating that the scheme is an evolving one, the ministry said the programme was initiated with eligibility of the farmers determined on self-certification by each farmer. Improvements have been made overtime in the way farmers are registered and verified by the states.
“The success of this scheme lies in the improvements introduced over time for verification and validation of the farmer details. Mandatory fields have been put in place since inception for the first level check,” the ministry said.
Taking advantage of the extensive use of digital technologies in implementation of PM-KISAN, the ministry has also initiated steps for building a digital ecosystem for agriculture or agri stack.
This will be another digital public good in the agriculture sector, using PM-KISAN data as the basis of a federated farmers database to be maintained by the states, it said.
“The building of the agri stack also provides opportunity to government in saturating PM-KISAN scheme with all eligible farmers and to re-verify all the existing beneficiaries, as per the operational guidelines of the scheme.
“The land details of the existing beneficiaries are thus being seeded, as per the land records of the states, so that in future dynamic linkage with the digital land records of the states is ensured smoothly,” the statement said.
E-KYC of the farmers and payments using Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) have also been initiated by the ministry to bring in further transparency in the scheme.
“This exercise will also help in weeding out farmers who may have passed away in between and have sold away their land, and may have meanwhile entered into exclusion criterion prescribed under the scheme,” the ministry said. (PTI)