Wednesday saw the state government rolling out its ambitious farm loan waiver scheme with over 8 lakh farmers receiving the benefits. Technology sets the present scheme apart from the loan waiver effected by the central government in 2008. With audited details of over 1.05 crore farmers at hand, the state government now plans to mine this databank for a host of purposes that would help it address shortcomings in its subsidy schemes or for micromanaging planning.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Samman Yogna, a Rs-34,000-crore farm loan waiver scheme, requires applicants to fill up forms online, with details such as land holding, bank accounts, loan amounts and stress on Aadhaar linkage. The Aadhaar number and bank details of farmers were cross-verified.
The final list of beneficiaries, officials said, would be the result of elaborate screening. Using data from the website of the Unique Identification Authority of India, officials have not only verified the personal details of the applicants but also their bank details. The list created now has the most authentic details of loanee farmers in the state, which now can be mined for various uses, they said.
Among these uses is micromanagement of the various agricultural subsidies to farmers. Minister Girish Bapat said the database can play a very valuable part in planning and distribution of seed, fertilisers etc. “This database can come handy while conducting reports of crop loss due to natural disasters,” he said. Data of individual farmers is authenticated through the Aadhaar base, so subsidies can routed precisely to deserving accounts.
Last year, the government had earmarked Rs 5,000 crore for agriculture and related activities. Other than direct investments, the government also has investments in terms of schemes for promotion of horticulture, farm ponds etc. Officials now say now loopholes in the distribution process for subsidies can be now plugged with this database.
In its present form, the database has village-wise details of land holdings and preferred cropping pattern, which officers say will help in micro-planning of the special farm programmes. “This data would act as the base for planning for programmes such as creation of clusters in special areas,” said an agricultural officer
The Aadhaar-linked database, officials say, will also come in handy in the management of government procurement of commodities under the price support scheme. Earlier this year, a massive drive to purchase tur under the scheme had come in for immense criticism as it was alleged that a handful of traders had benefited at the expense of the farmers. Traders, it was alleged, had sold their share of tur at government procurement centers. Some had also sold the same commodity in many markets. With this database, officers say, it will be very easy to link purchase and verify land holding and other details of the seller and identify frauds, if any.