700k found ineligible for PM-Kisan scheme in UP


As many as 7 lakh farmers may have to return money received under India’s flagship cash- transfer programme to farming households as they have been found ineligible under the welfare scheme, according to officials aware of the matter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the 10th instalment of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme on January 1. The ineligible farmers either pay income tax for earnings from other sources or are not eligible for some other reason to avail cash transfer scheme.

“Such ineligible beneficiaries will have a reprieve till the assembly elections in the states are over, but after that, they may start getting notices asking them to refund the amount voluntarily or be ready for recovery in keeping with the Central government’s guidelines,” one of the officials said.

Under the PM-KISAN launched by the central government in February 2019, eligible farmers get up to 6,000 per year in three instalments as minimum income support. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of beneficiaries at around 2.50 crore.

The benefits under this scheme are transferred into the bank accounts only after the receipt of 100 % error-free data of beneficiaries (farmers) of the state concerned, validated through the Aadhaar/PFMS/IT database in respect of payment of each instalment.

“Any farmer, who is found ineligible/ income-tax payee, is required to refund the amount. The concerning state authorities are supposed to recover the amount passed on to ineligible/income-tax payee farmer and deposit the same into the government of India account as per the standard operating procedure finalised by the central government’s department of agriculture and farmers welfare,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

The Centre, according to him, had identified till the end of October 2021, 7.23 lakh ineligible farmers as having received cash benefits under the PM-KISAN, despite being income-tax payees or being ineligible otherwise. “The number of such farmers identified in the whole country was estimated to be 42.73 lakh,” the official added.

The rules mandate that the state government recover the amount from the ineligible farmers and deposit the same into the Central government’s account.

Authorities are said to be avoiding sending notices to such ineligible beneficiaries due to the farmers’ agitation that went on for a year before the Centre repealed the three controversial farm laws, and also because the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls were round the corner.

A minister in the Uttar Pradesh government said the issue was politically sensitive. “But the government will have to act in accordance with the Centre’s guidelines to ensure that only eligible farmers avail of benefits under the PM-KISAN,” he said, requesting anonymity.

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