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 Modi government allotted a budget of 20,000 crore rupees for the scheme for the current fiscal year and 75,000 crore rupees for the next fiscal year. The government had transferred the first installment of 2,000 crore rupees to 2.7 crore farmers in the first transfer of benefits. In the second installment, 4.74 crore farmers of the country are expected to benefit from the scheme and so far 2.25 crore has benefited.
The PM KISAN would benefit the ruling party as 1.08 crore beneficiaries were from the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh. Another 86 lakh new beneficiaries got the first installment of 2,000 rupees under the scheme. In the poll manifesto, BJP promised to extend the PM-KISAN scheme for all farmers. So far only farming families with less than 2 hectares of land could avail the benefits of the scheme and therefore the total number of beneficiary families was estimated to be around 12 crores. Now almost 14.5 crore families would benefit which is around 97 percent of total farming families of the country. Only 2.6 crores tenant farmers who hold no land are excluded from the benefits of the scheme.
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 Modi 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.
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