Not a single Uttar Pradesh farmer has got PM-Kisan 3rd tranche, Finance Ministry concerned

P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Harish Damodaran
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is learnt to have directed her officials to find the reasons for the delay in payments from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for one out of every four farmers in the country, has not yet paid the third instalment under PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) to a single farmer, according to the last update Monday night on the scheme s official website.

The third instalment is due between August 1 and November 30, and a total of 94.88 lakh farmers across the country have been paid Rs 2,000 each so far. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana are the top three states, having disbursed the third instalment to almost 16.35 lakh, 13.99 lakh and 11.03 lakh farmers, respectively.

Concerned about a slowing economy, and particularly with flagging rural demand, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is learnt to have directed her officials to find the reasons for the delay in payments from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. We have asked the Agriculture Secretary to look into this, and provide us a status in slow-moving states and expedite payments, said an official, who did not wish to be named.

It was critical that the scheme s funds reach farmer-beneficiaries, who form the backbone of the rural economy, the official said. PM-KISAN data shows that 6.47 crore farmers benefited from the scheme during the first instalment. The number of beneficiaries dropped to 3.83 crore during the second instalment.

Read | PM-KISAN: Discrepancies force stop payment to 2.69 Lakh farmers, disbursal to 1.19 Lakh of them reversed

Under the PM-KISAN scheme, Rs 6,000 is to be directly transferred every year to eligible farmers in three instalments of Rs 2,000 each. The first instalment for the period December 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 was transferred in 2018-19 itself, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in May 2019. A large number of farmers were paid the second instalment, too, in April.

In fact, according to PM-KISAN beneficiary data, one out of every four beneficiaries is a Uttar Pradesh farmer. Of the 6.47 crore farmers who received the first instalment, UP accounted for the highest number of beneficiaries 1.58 crore farmers, making up almost 25 per cent of the total.

Officials in the UP government, however, said that payment orders for 37 lakh farmers have now been provided to the ministry of agriculture. These farmers should receive the third instalment in about 2-3 days, an official in UP government, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express.

While transferring the first instalment, the scheme guidelines allowed alternate documents for verification of identity in case farmers did not have Aadhaar. So, the disbursements were the highest in the first instalment.

The delay in releasing payment orders for the subsequent instalments was due to a condition under the scheme that disbursements be made only after seeding the Aadhaar number of farmers with their bank accounts for direct benefit transfer, explained the UP government official.

Beneficiaries not having Aadhaar need to be compulsorily enrolled for the unique identity number, since transfer of subsequent installments would be done only on the basis of Aadhaar seeded data base. This probably reduced the number of beneficiaries from UP and other states as well during the second instalment (April 1 to July 31).

Only 1.08 crore farmers in UP received the second instalment of PM KISAN compared with 1.58 crore in the first instalment. Overall, 3.83 crore farmers across the country got the second instalment compared with 6.47 crore farmers in the first instalment.