Tuesday, December 22, 2020

PM-KISAN, the Narendra Modi govarnment’s flagship income support scheme for farmers, has fared poorly in Bihar in terms of their enrollment.

PM-KISAN, the Narendra Modi govarnment’s flagship income support scheme for farmers, has fared poorly in Bihar in terms of their enrollment.

Of the 40,95,000 beneficiaries, just 26 per cent farmers have registered under PM-KISAN, a Bihar agriculture ministry official told ThePrint. The state has 16.19 million farmers — the second highest in the country.

“Bihar has so far been one of the worst performers when it comes to the enrollment procedure under PM-KISAN. The state has, so far, managed to enrol only 26 per cent of the eligible farmers,” said the agriculture official, who did not wish to be named.

In contrast, Uttar Pradesh, which has 23.82 million farmers — the highest in the country — has enrolled 73 per cent farmers.

The Bihar government has blamed the “complicated” verification process for the low enrollment in the state.

Under PM-KISAN or Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, launched by PM Modi in February, the government provides farmers with a cash transfer of Rs 6,000 a year.Centre has opened portal for self-enrolment by farmers

Bihar Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar told ThePrint the low enrollment of farmers under PM-KISAN is due to “complicated” verification process mandated by the central government.

“Application of almost 8 lakh farmers are pending for re-verification after being returned by the central government over various issues,” Kumar said.

Kumar said state government officials have been directed to complete the enrollment process in the next two months.

“We are appealing to all our farmer brothers to come forward themselves and to complete the self-registration process at the earliest,” Kumar told ThePrint at a function held last week to celebrate organic farming model in Kedia area of Jamui district.

In terms of disbursal of funds too, the scheme has fared poorly in the state.

The agriculture ministry official quoted above said disbursal of funds under the scheme has been particularly tardy in Seemanchal districts like Kishanganj and Araria, where only 3,200 and 2,600 farmers, respectively, have received their third installment so far.

Of the 64.31 lakh farmers who had applied under PM-KISAN, the minister said, 35 lakh farmers were paid the first installment. “But for the second installment, the number came down to 27 lakh farmers, which further decreased to just 5 lakh farmers for the third installment,” he added.

Also read: 2.69 lakh farmers fail to get first tranche under PM-KISAN scheme: Modi govt tells Rajya Sabha‘Received support under MNREGA, but not PM-KISAN’

Raj Kumar, an organic farmer in Kedia, told ThePrint that he received support from state government schemes and under MNREGA, but not PM-KISAN.

“We have received maximum support from state government schemes and under MNREGA to build cattle sheds and micro-canals for organic farming set-up,” he added.

“I’m yet to receive a single installment under it (PM-KISAN) or insure my crop under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana despite approaching agriculture department officials multiple times,” he said, adding it would have helped him bear the initial cost of setting up organic farming, such as buying earthworms for vermi-composting, had he received the money.

In Kedia, 107 families are engaged in organic farming over an area of 45 acres. The state government is, however, yet to develop the “organic farming corridor along both sides of the Ganga” as announced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2017. The scheme was announced under the ‘third agricultural roadmap’ for the state for the period 2017-2022.

Another farmer, Kolhu Mahto, from Mokama Tal in Patna, who cultivates pigeon pea and wheat on his nearly 1.2-hectare land, told ThePrint: “I went at least four times to the common service centre in my tehsil to get myself enrolled under PM-KISAN and the insurance scheme. I have only received one installment so far.”

Mahto said over half of his crops were destroyed in the recent rains and floods. “I cannot cultivate wheat now as I have no capital left to buy fertiliser, seeds or pay for irrigation unless I get credit from a bank or a lender,” he rued.

Also read: Not to be left behind in battle of giveaways, BJP says will expand PM-KISAN to all farmers


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