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Govt paid ₹1,364 Cr to undeserving farmers under PM-KISAN scheme – RTI

Rs 1364 cr to undeserving farmers under PM-KISAN scheme

Under its popular PM-KISAN scheme, the government paid ₹1,364 crore to 20.48 lakh undeserving farmers, a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query by the Union Agriculture Ministry’s reveals.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammann Nidhi (PM-KISAN) was introduced by the Centre in 2019 and an income support of ₹6,000 per year is provided to small and marginal farming families with combined land holding or possession of up to 2 hectares in three equal instalments under the scheme.

In response to the RTI application, the Union Ministry of Agriculture identified two groups of undeserving recipients who received PM-KISAN payments as “ineligible farmers” and “farmers with income tax payments.”

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative‘s(CHRI) RTI applicant Venkatesh Nayak, who received the government data, said, “More than half (55.58 per cent) of these undeserving persons belong to the ‘income tax payee group’. The remaining 44.41% belong to the ‘ineligible farmers’ group and the rest 44.41% belong to the group of ‘unqualified farmers’.

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As per media reports, Nayak said that investigations to recover the funds transferred to undeserving individuals had been initiated.

He said information collected (data) under the 2005 RTI Act indicated that ₹1,364.13 crore ($186.59 million) had been paid to ‘unqualified persons’ and ‘income tax payee farmers’ till 31 July 2020 after the implementation of the 2019 PM-KISAN Yojana. “The central Govt’s own data shows money went into the hands of the wrong people.” he said.

Five states are responsible for a major portion of these disqualified beneficiaries—Punjab, Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, as per the data. Sikkim recorded the lowest figure with only one undeserving beneficiary, Nayak said.

The total sum of ₹1,364.13 crore was paid in 68.20 lakh instalments to beneficiaries across the states (where each installment of Rs 2,000 paid out per recipient is counted separately). Of this, 49.25 lakh payments were paid to ‘IT payee farmers’ while 18.95 lakh payments were made across the nation to ‘ineligible farmers.’ He said he was citing data from RTI.

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Under the scheme, a sum of ₹6,000 per year is directly transferred into farmers’ bank accounts in three instalments of ₹2,000 every four months, subject to some exclusion conditions relating to higher wealth status, the PIB statement said.

The scheme was formally implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a grand event in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on February 24, 2019.

Several groups of farmers, such as institutional landholders, are exempt from the scheme; farming families in which one or more members are among the beneficiaries—former and current holders of constitutional posts; former and current ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, district panchayat mayors and chairmen; serving and retired government employees; pensioners with a monthly pension of over ₹10,000;