As of June 8, the government said that it will implement the PM-KISAN scheme for farmers across India. After a cabinet meeting, the NDA government notified the ministry of agriculture to work with the states on implementing the programme.
The ministry of agriculture—now led by the newly appointed union minister Narendra Singh Tomar—told the state governments to prepare a list of all eligible beneficiaries of the PM KISAN scheme.
“All the state/UT governments are, therefore, requested to expedite 100% enlistment of eligible beneficiaries as per the revised scheme so that farmers are able to avail the benefit of the scheme”, said the agriculture ministry.
Some states have not yet completed the process of transferring the cash, leaving lakhs of farmers uncertain about when these funds will arrive and if the scheme even applies to them.
What is the PM KISAN scheme?
The PM KISAN scheme was first introduced in the 2019 budget. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN) was set up to facilitate direct cash transfers of Rs 6,000 to “landholding farmer families with cultivable land up to two hectares”.
However, the government has since revised it, namely the criteria for farmers who will be covered.
The original scheme was pegged to cost Rs 75,000 crore annually; now, sources say that the revised version could cost the government Rs 87,000 crore. It will also cover an additional two crore farmers.
However, not all farmers will be considered equal for PM KISAN.
Money Control reports that institutional land holders and retired government officers and employees will not be qualify for the scheme. Even professionals like doctors and lawyers and retirees with a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 will not be included in the scheme.
The government has already finalised the names of close to 4 crore beneficiaries of which 3 crore have received their first instalment of Rs 2,000 and 2 crore have received their second.
However, Mint reports that because some states have been lax about taking action, over 67 lakh farmers will not get their benefits. West Bengal, Sikkim, and Delhi have not uploaded farmers’ details on the PM KISAN portal.
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Lakshadweep have also not implemented the scheme because the farmers’ data has not been verified.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi critiqued Modi for his PM KISAN policy saying that Rs 6,000 annually amounts to a meagre Rs 17 per day, which is not sustainable financial support.
He also said that it is “an insult to everything they [farmers] stand and work for,”
Focus on farmers for Modi 2.0
In the budget presented in 2019, lower and middle income Indians and farmers took priority. Along with PM KISAN, the government increased the loan amount for farmers to Rs 11.68 lakh and provided Soil Health Cards.
The Centre also promised irrigation schemes and more fertilisers and raised the minimum support price (MSP) for 22 crops by 50%.
In Telangana, minimum support prices for crops was a major election issue as farmers protested and set up a union for a minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar. They demanded an MSP of Rs 15,000 for ever 100 kgs of turmeric and Rs 3,500 for every 100 kg of red jowar. They also asked for a Turmeric Board that will set fair prices for their produce.
Similar protests have taken place in Maharashtra, Delhi NCT, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Modi has also approved a monthly pension of Rs 10,000 for five crore small farmers that will take force in three years. This pension scheme will cost the government over Rs. 10,000 crore, says Business Today.
In their 2019 manifestos, both the BJP and Congress highlighted farmers’ concerns, especially raising their income levels. Gandhi proposed a minimum income scheme where the lowest income households will get financial support from the Centre.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer for Qrius.