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Thursday, May 13, 2021

PM-Kisan first installment late; Covid blamed

The first installment is due between April 1 and July 31. Last year, most beneficiaries received the money in their bank accounts between March 24 and April 20. This year, as April ends, no farm households has received any money.

Written by Harikishan Sharma , Parthasarathi Biswas | New Delhi, Pune |
Updated: April 30, 2021 6:39:58 am
Under the scheme, the government provides Rs 6,000 to eligible farmer families in three equal installments during the course of the financial year.

Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the wait of over 9 crore farmer families for the first installment of their PM-Kisan payout for the financial year 2021-22, is getting longer. Agriculture Ministry sources said it may take “some more” days to transfer the installment of Rs 2,000 for the period April-July to eligible farmer families under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan).

Under the scheme, the government provides Rs 6,000 to eligible farmer families in three equal installments during the course of the financial year.

The first installment is due between April 1 and July 31. Last year, most beneficiaries received the money in their bank accounts between March 24 and April 20. This year, as April ends, no farm households has received any money.

Asked the reason for the delay, an Agriculture Ministry official said, “We are waiting for the states to complete the process of closure of lots and signing of RFTs (Request for Transfer)… We will be in position to release the installment within a week or so.”

According to PM-Kisan guidelines, State Nodal Officers (SNOs) authenticate the data of eligible farmers, and upload them in batches from time to time on the portal. Based on the verified data, the SNOs sign the RFTs that contain the total number of beneficiaries. The Public Finance Management System (PFMS) then issues a Fund Transfer Order (FTO), 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.

“Due to the Covid-19 crisis, field teams are taking longer to complete the verification process,” said the official quoted above. “We have also started recovery action against ineligible beneficiaries. That too, has taken some time.”

The official said, “We want to release an amount of Rs 19,000 crore as the April-July installment to about 9.5 crore eligible farmers at one go, as we did on December 25 last year. We will release the installment as soon as possible.”

On December 25, 2020, PM Narendra Modi had released Rs 18,000 crore to 9 crore farmer families as the December-March installment for the 2020-21 year.

In Maharashtra, where over 83 lakh farmers are waiting for first installment, senior officers of state agriculture department said the delay was in large part due to the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases, which had delayed the process of administrative approvals.

The list of eligible beneficiaries was sent well in advance, an officer said, “but given the Covid-19 situation, there was a delay at the Centre in sending back the list for re-verification with the RFP. We are given to understand that payments would be effected by the end of this month.”

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