State government accepts many claims are still pending
Many farmers in Bihar are still awaiting payments promised to them under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-Kisan), announced by then-Union Minister of Finance, Piyush Goyal during the 2019 Interim Union Budget of India on February 1, 2019.
Take Bijendra Prasad for instance. “We have been waiting since April for income support announced by the Narendra Modi-led government. So far, we have got nothing,” Prasad, a marginal farmer and resident of Dharaichak village under Punpun block in Patna district, told Down To Earth (DTE).
Prasad, who owns 2.5 bighas of land, said most of the farmers of his village had not received any instalment under the PM-Kisan scheme.
Lankesh Kumar, a farmer having 5 bighas of land in Nauru Bigha village under Tehta police station in Jehanabad district, said the National Democratic Alliance government had promised to provide income support of Rs 6,000 in three instalments.
However, Kumar was yet to receive any amount. “Most of the farmers in my village did not even get the first instalment but many farmers of a neighbouring village of Baghwar got it,” he said.
Muneshwar Yadav, 60, a resident of Wajidpur near Parasbigha in Jehanabad block, who owns 2 bighas of land, said he did not get the PM-Kisan benefits but some farmers in his village did.
Ramanuj Yadav, a resident of Ghanshayam Bigha under Makhdumpur block in Jehanabad, complained that only rich farmers were being provided help under the PM-Kisan scheme and that the poor and landless farmers like him were hardly provided anything.
“My name was not included as local officials told me that scheme was for landed farmers not landless ones like me,” he told DTE.
Buhar Mahto, a resident of Puran Tanr village under Lalganj block in Vaishali, was one of the lucky farmers who received three instalments of PM-Kisan.
“I have used half of the first and second instalments to purchase some fertilisers for paddy cultivation. But the amount was not sufficient because agriculture has become more costly and requires more money,” he said.
Mahto added that he would use the third instalment for purchasing seeds and fertiliser for the rabi season.
Bihar’s Minister for Agriculture Prem Kumar said out of the 64.31 lakh farmers who had applied for the PM-Kisan scheme, 34.41 lakh were paid the first instalment of Rs 2,000.
They were followed by 26.08 lakh farmers, who were paid the second instalment of Rs 2,000. Only 5.50 lakh farmers were paid the third instalment of Rs 2,000. “Till now, Rs 1,318.61 crore has been disbursed to farmers in Bihar under PM-Kisan,” Kumar said.
Kumar said the number of beneficiary farmers under PM-Kisan decreased from the first to third instalments due to pending inquiries into the applicants’ claims.
According to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, the names of 7.33 lakh farmers for PM- Kisan were pending after being returned by the central government on different grounds and 9.32 lakh applications for the scheme were pending at the local level.
Jehanabad district magistrate Navin Kumar said he had directed concerned officials to review and re-check applications pending for PM-Kisan. “As the state government is eager to provide benefits of PM- Kisan to farmers, several pending applications may be cleared soon,” he said.
PM-Kisan is an initiative by the government of India in which all small and marginal farmers will get up to ₹6,000 per year as minimum income support.
According to the state government, agriculture is key to Bihar’s economy. It employs 77 per cent of the workforce and generates nearly 24.84 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product.
According to the latest official figures from the state agriculture department's website, Bihar has 1, 00,94,232 registered farmers.
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