Just months away from the 2019 general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government will transfer Rs 25,000 crore into the bank accounts of more than 12 crore farmers across the country under PM- Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) to be launched at a two-day farmers' conclave at Gorakhpur on February 24, as per Times of India report.
With this announcement, the first installment of Rs 2,000 under the income benefit scheme will be handed over to farmers. According to experts, this could be the largest-ever direct disbursement of cash under the farmer investment support scheme, a move many consider to be a political masterstroke ahead of the elections.
Having lost three crucial state elections to arch rival Congress in December, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is in hyper-active mode to endear itself to the agrarian community with its latest salvo.
The PM-KISAN scheme was announced in the Interim Budget earlier this month. The scheme promises Rs 6,000 per annum in three equal tranches to small and marginalised farmers with land holding of up to two hectares.
The government has sanctioned Rs 75,000 crore to fund the PM-KISAN scheme and has promised more funds in future, if required. Aadhaar has been made optional by the government for availing the first installment of Rs 2,000 under the PM-KISAN scheme.
It seems to be a season of bonanza for distressed farmers, as many state governments have already declared packages of loan write-offs for small and medium land-owning farmers.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government had announced a Rs 36,000 crore farm loan waiver scheme in its budget announcement, which will benefit 86 lakh farmers across the state.
The newly formed Congress-led governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are the latest to do so apart from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab.
The second installment is likely to be handed over to farmers by April 1, close on the heels of the first installment. The government is reportedly planning to credit Rs 4,000 each into farmers' accounts before the 2019 General Elections dates are announced.
During his recent visit to Varanasi on Tuesday, PM Modi announced several development projects worth Rs 3,382 crore.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar