Tamil Nadu

Coverage under PM-KISAN not even 50%

Only 45% of farmers in State have been enrolled under the scheme, which will soon complete a year

Only 45% of farmers in the State have been enrolled under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), a Central scheme of cash support for farmers, which will complete its first year of implementation in a few weeks.

Though there are about 79.38 lakh farm holdings (regarded as farmers) in the State as per the Agricultural Census 2015-16, only around 35.54 lakh farmers have been covered under the scheme. The figure cited by the State government is 36.73 lakh.

Various reasons

A number of reasons have been attributed for the current situation of coverage. Primarily, the presence of multiple holders of land documents (’patta’, ‘chitta’ and ‘adangal’) within a family has brought down the figure of beneficiaries, as the scheme does not recognise them within the same family.

“The cash support is meant for a family and not an individual,” clarifies a senior official of the State Agriculture Department. A number of people have been excluded owing to the eligibility conditions of the scheme. Furthermore, as the scheme is for landowners, tenants have been excluded from it.

S. Venkatesan, a farmer who hails from Cuddalore district, estimates conservatively that 10% to 20% of eligible farmers in his district have not been covered due to a number of procedural hassles such as the insistence on having an SB account in a nationalised bank and the long waiting period for inclusion after submission of documents.

He suggests that the authorities make public at periodic intervals the lists of beneficiaries, district-wise, so that those who satisfy the conditions of the scheme would not have to submit the documents over and over again.

But Seeniappan, a farmer from Chinnapudur village in Dharmapuri district, has a different story to narrate. “If you submit the proper documents, you are included,” he says, recalling that originally, he was not a beneficiary as he does not come under the category of “small and marginal farmers” but under “other (big) farmers”.

After the scheme’s ambit was expanded in June last year to include all types of farmers, regardless of landholding, he has received two instalments of the cash support.

Thangaraj and his wife, who own half-an-acre in Kothapalli village of Dindigul district, did not experience any problem in getting covered even during the launch of the scheme about an year ago.

Appreciating the Central and State governments for implementing the scheme, Mr. Thangaraj says he has been using the cash for buying fodder.

G. Ajeethan, technical secretary to the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations, and a farmer based in Mohanur of Namakkal district, says that though the authorities are, in a phased manner, covering eligible farmers, there are still issues being faced by the community of agriculturists at the time of authentication of bank accounts and verification of documents, the process of which, he says, is “quite rigorous”. There is a clamour among the farmers for enhancement of the amount of cash support.

SB account

However, the official explains that the insistence on having an SB account in a nationalised bank is being made as most of the farmers had originally given details of bank accounts which were linked to Kisan Credit Cards or loan accounts.

But “the Central government has given instructions not to adjust the scheme’s cash support to any liability of the farmers, including loans,” the official points out.

Acknowledging that the verification, of which there are multiple levels, may cause delays, the official says this ensures “less errors”.

To increase the coverage, the State government has been pursuing with the Centre the inclusion of around 1.24 lakh lessee farmers who are using lands of temples in the State, the official adds.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 9:09:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/coverage-under-pm-kisan-not-even-50/article30660897.ece

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