A deposit of Rs2,000 each to the bank accounts of farmers on Friday marked the release of the 8th installment of over Rs19,000 crore to some 9.5 crore small and marginal farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
The scheme, as launched by then interim finance minister Piyush Goyal in the Lok Sabha poll year in the 2019 interim budget of providing 3 installments of Rs2,000 each to 12 crore farm families, was delayed this time because of the Assembly polls in April.
The scheme of cash benefit of Rs6,000 per annum in 3 equal installments was brought as a counter to the Congress harping since then on a dole of Rs6,000 a month to 20% of the poorest poor.
As usual with his habit, Prime Minister Modi on Friday tried to publicise the event to cover up the delay. The farmers should have actually got it latest by April since the last installment was given on December 25 last year. It may, however, anger the opposition parties the PM is trying to divert attention of the people from the shortage of Covid vaccines, oxygen, hospital beds and medicine.
But the fact is it is an ongoing scheme of 2019 Modi launched from Gorakhpur on February 24, 2019, as a sequel to the interim budget announcement and so far, over Rs1.15 lakh-crore have been transferred to the beneficiary farmers. It started with the direct benefit transfer (DBT) to 55 lakh farmers in February 2019. The amount is directly transferred into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode to prevent anybody siphoning the money.
In an interaction with the farmers from UP, Maharashtra, Andhra, Meghalaya, J&K and Andaman and Nicobar on Friday, the Prime Minister said he was happy over 7 lakh farmers of West Bengal benefitted from the scheme for the first time.
Home Minister Amit Shah explained to a private news TV channel the Bengal farmers were earlier deprived of the scheme because of the adamant Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refusing to send the list of the eligible farmers of the state to join it.
A Congress leader said the PM is trying to gain publicity even in the disbursal of money to the farmers that should have been done automatically. He said if the PM is really concerned about the ‘annadatas’ (food givers), he should better help end an indefinite dharna by the farmers at the Delhi borders since November last year by accepting their demand to roll back 3 anti-farmer laws enacted in September, as also pleaded by a dozen parties in a memorandum to him 2 days ago.