The central government will set up a project monitoring unit (PMU) headed by a chief executive officer to monitor and publicise its latest flagship direct income support to farmers' programme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
The programme, announced in the interim-budget on February 1, is key to the ruling party's election campaign as the government completes its five-year term in July this year. PM-KISAN envisages transfer of Rs 6000 per year in three instalments to small and marginal farmer families having total cultivable land holding of up to 2 hectare. The first instalment of Rs 2000 is to reach the farmers bank accounts before March 31, 2019. The government has earmarked Rs 20,000 crore in the current year's budget itself for disbursing the funds before the general elections.
In a letter to all state chief secretaries, Sanjay Agarwal, Union Agriculture Secretary, said all families (a husband, wife and minor children) who collectively own cultivatable land of up to 2 hectare as per the land records of the concerned would be eligible for the dole out. "The existing land ownership system in the concerned states and Union Territories will be used for identification of beneficiaries. Those whose names appear in land records as on February 1, 2019 will be eligible," he states. The states have been asked to complete the identification of beneficiaries and facilitate quick distribution of the benefit to the farmers. Agarwal has sought personal intervention of the chief secretaries to monitor the progress of implementation and do periodic reviews for effective implementation.
The states and union territories have been asked to designate a nodal department for implementation of the scheme. A maximum of 0.25 per cent of the funds transferred to beneficiaries in the first instalment and a maximum of 0.125 percent for the subsequent instalments will be provided as administrative expenses to the states. The nodal departments are expected to do the field verification, certification of beneficiaries etc. The ministry has also asked the state governments to ensure that the beneficiary lists are displayed and verified at gram panchayats to ensure transparency and accuracy.
The ministry will also issue a detailed operational guideline to the states.