Representational Pic
Representational Pic

New Delhi: The centre has made Aadhaar number of small and marginal farmers optional for availing the first installment of Rs 2,000 under the recently launched Rs 75,000 crore PM-Kisan scheme, according to an official document. However, to get subsequent installments, it is compulsory for farmers to show their Aadhaar numbers to verify their identities. In the interim budget, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced direct income support of Rs 6,000 per year to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land up to 2 hectare.

The central government’s fully-funded scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan), will be implemented from this year and the first installment will be transferred by March. “For transfer of first installment of benefit for the period December 2018-March 2019, Aadhaar numbers will be collected wherever available..,” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a letter to the state governments.

If not Aadhaar numbers, other alternate documents, namely driving licence, voter ID cards, NREGA job cards, or any other identification issued by central/state governments or their authorities will have to provided to avail the first installment, it said.

“However for transfer of subsequent installments, Aadhaar number shall have to be compulsorily captured,” the Ministry said directing the state governments to ensure that there is no duplication of eligible farmers. The state governments have been asked to prepare a database of beneficiaries of small and marginal landholder farmer families in villages, capturing details such as name, gender, whether belonging to SC/ST, Aadhaar, bank account numbers and mobile number of beneficiaries.

For calculation of benefits, the Centre has defined a small and marginal landholder family as one comprising of husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectares as per land records of the concerned states. To identify land ownership, the Centre said that it will use the existing land-ownership system prevalent in states and union territories.

The cut-off date for determination of ownership of land as per land records under the scheme will be February 1, 2019 and changes thereafter in land records will not be considered for eligibility of benefits to new land holders for the next five years. However, the scheme benefit will be allowed on transfer of ownership of cultivable land on account of succession, the letter added.

If a landholder farmer family (LFF) has land parcels spread across different villages/revenue records, then land will be pooled to determine the benefit. Since land ownership rights are community-based in North Eastern states, an alternate implementation mechanism will be developed and approved by a committee.

State governments have been asked to notify district level grievances redressal committees to address grievances related to implementation of the scheme. That apart, a project monitoring unit at the central level will be set up, while states will designate a nodal department for implementation of the scheme.

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Free Press Journal