With Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and several other states just a few months away, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is planning to expand its flagship programme - the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN). Though there is no official confirmation regarding the increased amount so far, there are reports that the pay-out per farmer could be revised to Rs 8,000 from the existing Rs 6,000 per annum. Moreover, another recent Cabinet decision in this regard promises to benefit all the 14.5 crore farmers, irrespective of the size of their land holding, across the country. The revision is likely to be announced in the upcoming Budget for the financial year 2020. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her maiden Union Budget on July 5.
Farmers can directly call the PM-KISAN helpline for registration. A war room has also been set up in the Ministry of Agriculture to monitor the PM-KISAN scheme. Senior officials are on duty to ensure that grievances and queries are addressed at the earliest.
The Rs 75,00 crore PM-Kisan scheme which aims to boost farmers' income, was announced in the interim budget by the Modi 1.0 dispensation in early 2019. Under the existing scheme, the government provides Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments to an estimated 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares.
Those who were kept out of the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Yojana include - institutional land holders, farmer families holding constitutional posts, serving or retired officers and employees of state/central government, doctors, engineers, lawyers and retired pensioners with a monthly pension of over Rs 10,000, PSUs and government autonomous bodies and those who paid income tax in the last assessment year.
The expansion will cost the government Rs 87,217.50 crore annually, up from Rs 75,000 crore, estimated in its Interim Budget for the financial year 2019-20. The development was announced following the first Cabinet meeting of the new NDA government on May 31. In its manifesto for 2019 general elections, the BJP had promised to extend the scheme to all farmers.
Notifying the decision, the Union Agriculture Ministry has written to all state governments, asking them to identify beneficiaries subject to the "existing exclusion factors". The state governments are also asked to use "the existing land ownership system" to identify beneficiaries and transfer the benefit after the family details are uploaded on the PM-KISAN portal.
The responsibility of identifying the eligible beneficiary farmers and uploading their data on PM-KISAN portal lies entirely with the state governments, it said.
"All the state/UT governments are, therefore, requested to expedite 100 per cent enlistment of eligible beneficiaries as per the revised scheme so that farmers are able to avail the benefit of the scheme," the ministry said.
So far, the government has enrolled the first installment to 3,29,52,568 beneficiaries and the second installment to 2,85,73,889 beneficiaries. The installments of Rs 2,000 have been directly credited to the bank accounts of farmers' families under the PM-KISAN scheme.