Before Elections, PM introduces KISAN scheme

With General Elections 2019 looming around the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government announced a new scheme to benefit the farmers of the country, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM KISAN) as part of Interim Budget 2019.

Under the scheme, the government has announced Rs 6,000 support a year to every small and marginal farmer having a landholding of less than 2 hectares and this subsidy would cost the government Rs 75,000 crore in 2019-20 stated Department of Agriculture and Farmers welfare.

However,  speaking to Economic Times, M J Khan, Chairman, Indian Council of Food and Agriculture said, “It was the only option available with the government to reach out to farmers in a short time before the election code of conduct comes into force, the support amount is likely to impact because the subsidy is  small and lower than the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana or the KALIA of Odisha”.

The Rythu Bandhu Scheme of Telangana provides farmers an annual subsidy of Rs.8000 per acre to all farmers, excluding tenant farmers.The scheme, the brainchild of the Telangana State Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekar Rao was implemented in the year 2018. This was the first direct farmer investment support scheme in India, where the cash is paid directly.

Here is the video explaining the Rythu Bandhu Scheme.

While the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme of Odisha offers direct benefit cash transfer of Rs 25,000 for a farm family over five seasons to small and marginal farmers. Introduced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2018,the programme aims to empower small, marginal farmers and landless and will cover 92% of the cultivators, loanee as well as non-loanee farmers, share croppers and landless agriculture labourers.

After the announcement on the February 1, the scheme received various backlashes from various leaders around the country.

The President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi tweeted,

Yogendra Yadav, The President of Swaraj India, a socio-political organisation, speaking to media said, “The government’s real intention is clear from the decision to begin this scheme retrospectively and to pass on the first installment within this financial year. Clearly, this is a desperate measure to buy farmers’ votes, by transferring Rs.2,000 to their accounts before the election. It is a double insult to the farmers that the government expects to get the farmers’ votes so cheap”.

However praising his own decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally in Durgapur said, ” No govt has brought such a huge scheme for the farmers”.

Here is a link of the entire speech of the Prime Minister:

With the elections around the corner, the reaction and impact of such an announcement will be interesting to see and whether such an attempt to impress the farmers of the country bring BJP back to power is the biggest question among the political commentators.

In a latest update, Junior Agriculture Minister, Gajendra Shekhawat, told Economic times that, “The government will pay 100 million farmers Rs 2,000 each by the end of March and will be able to swiftly transfer subsequent instalments under the PM-KISAN.

And with respect to the implementation of the Scheme, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal announced that Farmers who wish to avail themselves of benefits under PM-KISAN, the new income support scheme announced in the Union Budget, must have Aadhaar identification to get the money from the second instalment, which would be paid by July 2019. However, this would not be compulsory for the first instalment expected to be disbursed by March 31, before the Lok Sabha polls.
Compiled by Jayakumar Madala