Prelims cum Mains

Central Govt to Maharashtra Govt: Recover Rs 208cr aid that ineligible farmers got

In a bid to reduce farmer’s distress, the government, in the Interim Budget 2019, has introduced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), an annual income support scheme for farmers.

In News:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana department of the Union agriculture and farmers’ welfare ministry has directed the Maharashtra government to recover Rs 208 crore from 2.3 lakh ineligible farmers with immediate effect.
  • These farmers has had received the government aid under the PM-KISAN scheme despite being ineligible for the same.

About: Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • In a bid to reduce farmer’s distress, the government, in the Interim Budget 2019, has introduced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), an annual income support scheme for farmers.
  • It is a direct cash transfer scheme providing Rs. 6,000 per annum, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.
  • It is a Central Sector scheme with 100% funding from Government of India.
  • It was operationalized from December, 2018.

Aims:

  • Augment income of the most vulnerable farmers
  • Help meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season, for procuring seeds, fertitlizers, equipment etc.
  • Help reduce agricultural indebtedness
  • Enhance rural consumption

Beneficiaries:

  • PM-KISAN started off as a structured income support scheme for small and marginal farmer families (about 86 per cent or 12.5 crore farmers with cultivable landholding up to 2 hectares).
  • Later, the government expanded the coverage to all farmers (with some exclusions), which means around 14.5 crore farmers will get the benefit.
  • State Government and UT administration will identify the farmer families which are eligible for support as per scheme guidelines.

Exclusions:

  • There are various Exclusion Categories for the scheme.
  • The following categories of beneificiaries of higher economic status shall not be elligible for benefit under the scheme:
    • All Institutional Land holders
    • Farmer families which belong to one or more of the following categories:
      • Former and present holders of constitutional posts
      • Former and present Ministers/ State Ministers and Legislators
      • Former and present Mayors of Municipal Corporations and Chairpersons of District Panchayats
      • All serving or retired government and public servants
      • All superannuated/retired pensioners whose monthly pension is Rs.10,000/-or more
      • All Persons who paid Income Tax in last assessment year
      • Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants, and Architects registered with Professional bodies and carrying out profession by undertaking practices

News Summary:

  • Farmers who pay income tax were excluded from the PM-KISAN scheme, as the income support scheme was to support farmers solely dependent on agriculture income.
    • There is no tax on agriculture income in India. So those farmers paying income tax are those having good income from other sources.
  • It was found that some farmers had filed their application for the PM Kisan Yojana, knowingly or unknowingly, despite being ineligible.
  • Of the 2.3 lakh farmers who must now return the money, 2.2 lakh had received only one instalment, while the rest had received multiple instalments of Rs 2,000 since December 1, 2018, when the scheme was launched.
  • Consequently, the PM-KISAN Yojana department has directed the Maharashtra government to recover the amount from those farmers. 

Identified through Aadhaar:

  • The farmers who wanted to receive benefits had to upload their Aadhaar and PAN details to avail of the scheme.
  • This information was tallied by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana department then identified 2.3 lakh ineligible farmers in the state of Maharashtra, who had paid taxes, and were thus ineligible to receive payments under the scheme.

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