The government will transfer the second installment of the PM-Kisan to 4.74 crore farmers of the country in the next month. The Modi government announced in the budget that it will transfer direct benefits of 6,000 rupees per year for landholders of up to 2 hectares. The scheme has been implemented retrospectively from December 1, 2018 and will benefit more than 12 crore farmers. The government allotted a budget of 20,000 crore rupees for the scheme for current fiscal year and 75,000 crore rupees for the next fiscal year. The government has transferred the first installment of 2,000 crore rupees to 2.7 crore farmers so far.
Another 2 crore farmers will get the second installment by the end of the current fiscal year which will end of March 31. The government has disbursed 5, 400 crore rupees so far and another 4,000 crore rupees will be disbursed in this fiscal year to 2 crore farmers. The government will be able to save more than 10,000 crore rupees in this fiscal year due to implementation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) on March 10 when the EC announced election dates. “We were hoping to have the data of 12 crore farmers from across the country. But the data of 4.74 crore farmers has come before the MCC was enforced,” said an official.
The restriction due to MCC will help the government to bridge the widening fiscal deficit which touched 7.71 lakh crore rupees in April to January 2018-19 period. This is 121.5 percent of full year revised target of 6.34 lakh crore rupees.
The non-BJP ruled states have not uploaded the data of farmers of their states on PM-Kisan portal because they fear that direct transfer of money to farmers will reap electoral gains for BJP. The states of West Bengal, Karnataka, and Delhi have kept largest number of prospective beneficiaries outside the scheme. Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh said that 67.11 lakh farmers in West Bengal would have received Rs. 2,000 each had the state uploaded the details of farmers and availed the first installment of Rs 1,342 crore under the PM-KISAN scheme. Similarly, 15,580 farmers in Delhi were deprived of their share of Rs. 3 crore meant for them under the PM-KISAN scheme.
It is not for the first time that the PM-KISAN scheme has become a victim of unfortunate politicisation. Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had claimed that the government was insulting the peasants by giving them merely Rs. 17 per day. It seems that Rahul Gandhi had failed to comprehend the simple fact that the benefit under the PM-KISAN scheme is not going to be the actual income of the farmers. It is only in the nature of assisted income to the farmers in order to support them. Assisted income is not supposed to defray all the living expenses, it is only meant to alleviate their distress.
The government is trying to solve the post-production problem by incentivising exports. As India produces more than it consumes, the price of agriculture produces crashes and this could not be solved without encouraging exports. The Modi government plans to introduce country-specific special agricultural produce zones to boost agricultural exports. The exports are already rising, in the FY 2018, the country exported agricultural commodities worth $ 38.74 billion, as against imports of $ 24.89 billion which resulted in a farm trade surplus of $ 13.85 billion. The surplus for 2016-17 and 2015-16 was $ 8.05 billion and $ 10.23 billion respectively.