File. , Photo Credit: Reuters
The number of farmers who received the 11th installment of funds from the Prime Minister’s Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) has fallen by 67%, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s response to a Right to Information query from activist Kanhaiya Kumar. PM-KISAN is a flagship Central scheme launched in 2019 to pay eligible farmer families ₹6,000 per year in three installments of ₹2,000 each.
The Agriculture Ministry’s installment-wise payment success report showed that only 3.87 crore farmers received the 11th installment of ₹2,000 in their accounts in May-June 2022. This is a sharp drop from the 11.84 crore farmers who received the first installment back in February 2019. , just before the Lok Sabha elections. The latest 12th installment was disbursed in October 2022.
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From 11.84 crore farmers in the first instalment, the trend of decrease started from the sixth installment which was received by 9.87 crore farmers. The seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth installments were received by 9.30, 8.59, 7.66 and 6.34 crore people respectively.
The Ministry did not respond to The Hindu‘s queries on why the number of beneficiaries has declined so sharply.
The data revealed that in Andhra Pradesh, the number of beneficiaries came down from 55.68 lakh to 28.2 lakh. In Bihar, the number of beneficiaries reached seven lakh from 83 lakh, while in Chhattisgarh, just two lakh farmers received the eleventh instalment, instead of 37 lakh people who got the amount in the first instalment.
In poll-bound Gujarat, 63.13 lakh farmers got the amount in 2019 and in 2022, only 28.41 lakh farmers benefited by the scheme. In Haryana, 19.73 lakh farmers received the first installment and 11.59 lakh farmers got the 11 th installation. In Maharashtra, the number came down from 1.09 crore in 2019 to 37.51 lakh in 2022. In Madhya Pradesh, while 88.63 lakh farmers received the help in 2019, just 12,053 of them received the amount in 2022. In Meghalaya, 627 farmers got it in 2022 against 1.95 lakh farmers in 2019. In Punjab, the number decreased to 11.31 lakh from 23.34 lakh.
In Uttar Pradesh, 2.6 crore farmers availed the aid in 2019, and it decreased by half to 1.26 crore in 2022. In West Bengal, according to the data, 45.63 lakh farmers received the amount in 2019 and no farmers got the money since the sixth installation. The State government had raised this matter with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
In Assam, the number of people who received the payment came down from 28.79 lakh to 2.54 lakh. In Chandigarh, just three people got the amount in May-June 2022. In Delhi, the number came down to 2,065 from 16,513. In Himachal Pradesh too, the number came down by half from 9.86 lakh to 5.43 lakh. In Jammu and Kashmir, the beneficiaries who received the payment was 5.61 lakh from 12.07 lakh in 2019. In Jharkhand, 4.17 lakh farmers got the money in May-June. In 2019, 27.07 lakh people received the amount. In BJP-ruled Karnataka, the number came down from 55.61 lakh to 2.58 lakh. In Kerala, 24.23 lakh beneficiaries received the payment in 2022 against 36.99 lakh in 2019. Similarly in Odisha, 7.05 lakh farmers got the payment in 2022 while in 2019, the number was 39.20 lakh. In Tamil Nadu, 23.04 farmers received the money in 2022 and 46.8 lakh got the amount in 2019. In Telangana, 24.32 lakh people received payment in 2022 and for the first installment was received by 39.10 lakh farmers. In Tripura too, the number has come down by half.
All India Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale termed the data as “very shocking”. “Two thirds of the farmers have not received the payment according to this data in 2022. There is no logical reason for why such a decrease in the number of beneficiaries. It shows that the Center is trying to slowly wind up this scheme. This scheme is not at all a substitute for the legally guaranteed MSP. This scheme was another jumla to skirt the real issues the farmers are facing,” Dr. Dhawale said.
The Ministry said no money was transferred to any fraud beneficiary under the PM-KISAN scheme, adding that the benefits have been transferred directly into bank accounts only after the receipt of 100% error free data of farmers from States, which is validated through Aadhaar or the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) database.
The government had earlier said that so far, eligible farmer families have received benefits of more than ₹2 lakh crore under the scheme through 11 instalments. “Of this, ₹1.6 lakh crore has been transferred during the COVID-19 pandemic period. With the 12th installment to be released by Prime Minister on October 17, the total amount transferred to the beneficiaries is expected to cross well over ₹2.16 lakh crore,” a recent release said.