Decks have been cleared for transfer of money directly into the bank accounts of eligible farmers in West Bengal under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, a source in the Union Agriculture Ministry told The Indian Express on Friday. The beneficiaries in the state are likely to get the first installment of Rs 2,000 each in their bank accounts on May 14.
“The West Bengal government has given its approval to automatic debit for directly transferring the money into bank accounts of the PM-Kisan beneficiaries,” said the source, adding that this paves the way for the transfer of the money into the accounts of eligible farmers.
It has emerged that the state government approved automatic debit on May 4, a day after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to direct state officials to facilitate it at the earliest since eligible farmers in the state were being denied benefits under the scheme.
On Thursday, the chief minister told reporters in Kolkata that all measures have been taken and she has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to advise the Union Agriculture Ministry to release the funds to the farmers in the state.
According to the sources, the nodal officer of PM-Kisan in West Bengal government gave a letter of authority to the manager of State Bank of India on May 4 to authorise the bank to auto debit the money from the scheme’s nodal account and transfer it to the beneficiaries’ accounts.
About 7.55 lakh farmers in West Bengal are likely to get their first PM-Kisan installment of Rs 2,000 for the period April-July on May 14 when the Centre is set to release the next installment to over 9 crore beneficiaries across the country, sources said. Under the scheme, a total of Rs 6,000 is to be transferred in three equal installments to the farmers’ accounts through DBT or Direct Benefit Transfer.
While it will be the eighth installment to be paid under the scheme since its launch in 2018-19, the next payment will be the first for farmers in Bengal as the state had not accepted the scheme initially, raising objections on the mode of payment among other factors.
About 41 lakh of the 69 lakh estimated farmers of West Bengal have registered themselves on the PM-Kisan portal till now. Of them, about 14 lakh farmers have been verified by the state nodal officer. Of these 14 lakh, details of 7.55 lakh farmers have been verified on the PFMS, making them eligible for payment in the first round, a source said.
According to PM-Kisan guidelines, state nodal officers authenticate data of eligible farmers and upload them in batches from time to time on the portal. Based on the verified data, the officers sign the Request for Transfers that contain the total number of beneficiaries. The Public Finance Management System then issues a Fund Transfer Order, based on which the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare issues the transaction order for the mentioned amount, and the installment is credited into the account of the beneficiary.
The Centre sends money through the Public Financial Management System into the state nodal account, from where it is instantly transferred to the beneficiaries’ accounts. “The approval for the automatic debit is very important,” the source said.