Kolkata, May 14 (PTI) As farmers in West Bengal received the first installment of funds under the PM-KISAN scheme on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the Centre, accusing it of dilly-dallying over the transfer of funds to beneficiaries in the state.
In an open letter to farmers, Banerjee also said the decision to extend the benefits of the scheme to eligible farmers in Bengal was a result of her government's 'continuous fight'.
'In 2018, the West Bengal government had started the Krishak Bandhu scheme that went on to become a model for the entire country.
'After this in 2019, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi was launched. Comparatively, the state's programme is better because it offers more benefits to farmers... we are planning to add incentives to our scheme in the near future,' she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday released the eighth installment of over Rs 20,000 crore to more than 9.5 crore farmer beneficiaries under the scheme via video- conferencing.
Under the programme launched in 2019, the central government is providing Rs 6,000 in three equal installments to 14 crore farmers annually. The amount is transferred into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
Banerjee had on May 6 written to Modi, urging him to call upon the Union agriculture ministry to release the funds to farmers of the state.
'You all were supposed to get Rs 18,000, but have received a very small amount. Even this sum would not have been transferred had we not fought for it. We will continue this fight till you get the entire allocation,' the CM asserted.
Around 7.55 lakh farmers of the 41 lakh who had registered for the scheme till early May were found to be eligible to receive the funds, sources said.
The state government had earlier raised objections over the mode of payment, among other issues, of the central scheme.
The Krishak Bandhu scheme provides farmers with one or more acres of landholding an annual amount of Rs 5,000 (minimum Rs 2,000 per annum assistance on pro-rata basis). PTI SCH RBT RBT