Tardy pace of farm schemes irks Finance Ministry

Ministry asks banks to hurry, wants 2.33 cr. more PM-Kisan beneficiaries under credit card scheme

February 22, 2020 10:07 pm | Updated 10:47 pm IST - Mumbai

Make haste: While there are 9 crore PM-Kisan beneficiaries, there are only 6.67 crore active KCC accounts.

Make haste: While there are 9 crore PM-Kisan beneficiaries, there are only 6.67 crore active KCC accounts.

The Finance Ministry has come down heavily on public sector banks for unsatisfactory progress of various schemes related to the farm sector. The Ministry has expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress made by banks, and asked them to double their efforts.

The communication to banks comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on February 29, where he will launch the implementation of schemes announced in the Budget.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Budget that all eligible beneficiaries of PM-KISAN will be covered under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme. The Finance Ministry is not satisfied the progress made by banks so far in implementing the scheme.

The Ministry said while there were 9 crore PM-Kisan scheme beneficiaries, there are only 6.67 crore active KCC accounts. The campaign for saturation of all PM-Kisan beneficiaries with KCC started on February 10.

‘Not encouraging’

“As you are aware, at present there are about 6.67 crore active KCC accounts as against 9 crore beneficiaries under PM-Kisan, which leaves a gap of 2.33 crore PM Kisan beneficiaries who are outside the coverage of KCC schemes. However, mid-way [through] this campaign, the progress made so far is not encouraging,” the Finance Ministry said in a letter dated February 21.

The letter, addressed to all MD and CEOs of public sector banks and chairman of State Bank of India and Nabard, has been reviewed by The Hindu . The KCC scheme was launched in 1998 with the objective of providing short-term credit to farmers for cultivation of crops, post harvest expenses, working capital for maintenance of farm assets, among others.

“The on-going campaign for saturation of all PM Kisan beneficiaries with KCC which started with effect from February 10, 2020 will culminate at a function at Chitrakoot (U.P.) by the Hon’ble PM on 29.02.20,” the letter said. The Ministry also pulled up banks on slow implementation of Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) Scheme.

“As per data complied by DAC&FW [Department Of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare], from the PMFBY portal, the total number of applications received by all banks as on 21.02.20... is only 9.33 lakh, of which 4.13 lakh applications have been sanctioned,” the letter said.

“Given the tardy progress of the campaign, banks need to redouble efforts to ensure success of the campaign,” it added. Launched in 2016 by Mr Modi, PMFBY provides insurance cover against failure of crops.

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