However…, Say Union Leaders On Farmers’ Benefits
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the eighth instalment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme through a virtual conference on Friday, May 14.
This will enable the transfer of more than Rs. 19,000 crores to over 9.5 crores beneficiary farmer families. The Prime Minister also interacted with beneficiaries online.
There was mixed reaction from farmer leaders regarding the scheme.
“PM-Kisan has always been a cover-up, a feeble one at that, for this government's failure in addressing farmers' real issues,” said activist Kavitha Kuruganti.
“Where is the need for any tamasha in a routine affair in an ongoing scheme other than a misplaced hope that this will divert attention from the ongoing farmers protests? And the fact that numbers are swelling at the protest sites despite the pandemic,” she added.
Kuruganti is a social activist known for her work related to sustainable farm livelihoods and farmers' rights.
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), on the other hand, considers PM Kisan Yojana a helpful scheme, particularly for small and marginal farmers, “who comprises 86% of farming community”.
A Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate, the BKS considers itself an apolitical platform fighting for farmers’ cause.
Yet, they too have raised concerns over farmers’ benefits.
“MSP is currently the main issue before farmers. All farmers are not benefiting with government procurement. Only about 8-10% farmers benefit,” claimed BKS all-India Organisational Secretary Dinesh Kulkarni.
“To reduce the cost of production of farm produce, government should think over the DBT (direct bank transfer) scheme for agriculture inputs, fertiliser, seed, electricity etc. by abolishing all subsidies given to agriculture sector and by providing minimum Rs. 12,000 per acre per year,” he added.
He also demanded that agriculture inputs be exempted from GST.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, a financial benefit of Rs. 6,000 per year is provided to eligible beneficiary farmer families, payable in three equal four-monthly instalments. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
In this scheme, ‘Samman Rashi’ of over Rs. 1.15 lakh crores has been transferred to farmer families so far. The beneficiaries are decided according to list sent by the states.
Under the scheme, the first instalment of Rs. 2,000 comes from April 1 to July 31, the second instalment comes between August 1 and November 30 and the third instalment from December 1 to March 31.
For West Bengal, however, this will be the first instalment of Rs. 2,000 for each farmer. The state earlier had claimed that it already had a benefit scheme, called ‘Krishak Bandhu’, wherein farmers holding one or more acre of land are entitled to Rs. 5,000 per annum (Rabi and Kharif Season) assistance with minimum Rs. 2,000 per annum assistance pro rata basis.
Under Krishak Bandhu, in case of death, the beneficiary’s family could avail Rs. 2 lakhs. The state has since shared farmers’ details with the Centre for PM-Kisan scheme.
(Visit the website https://pmkisan.gov.in/ then click on 'Farmer's Corner’ Section. Select the 'Beneficiary Status' option and you can verify the status of your application)
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