Almost 33 lakh ineligible beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme received Rs 2,326.88 crore, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in Rajya Sabha.
Instances of credentials of block and district officials being misused to approve the applications of ineligible farmers under PM-KISAN were also reported, he informed the Upper House.
Tomar stated that some amount has been recovered from some of the ineligible beneficiaries, while FIRs have been lodged against others in some states.
"The state of Karnataka has informed that 2,03,819 wrong registrations have been identified by the state and FIR lodged accordingly. Tamil Nadu has informed that nearly 6 lakh registrations have been identified as ineligible due to wrongful activity and from these Rs 158.57 crore has been recovered till now. In Gujarat, nearly 7,000 beneficiaries have been identified as ineligible due to wrongful activities in the state," Tomar said in reply to a question.
"Tamil Nadu has informed that around 16 FIRs have been lodged against the culprits and more than 100 arrests taken place. Gujarat has informed that wrong cases under the PM-KISAN scheme have been found in two districts of Gujarat and FIR filed accordingly. In Gujarat, 55 suspected user IDs have been deactivated. FIR has also been lodged by Karnataka, in this regard," he added.
On measures being taken to remove the loopholes, Tomar stated that the scheme has been integrated with the income tax database so that income-tax payees don't receive the benefits. Income-tax payees are among the groups excluded from the scheme. Besides, those who receive a monthly pension above Rs 10,000, hold a constitutional position, are serving or retired government employee, professionals or institutional landholders are also excluded.
The PM-KISAN portal has been integrated with UIDAI and beneficiaries of states and union territories are now Aadhar authenticated, the minister added. Beneficiaries from Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Meghalaya and Assam have been kept out as they are exempted till March 31, 2021.
Standard operation guidelines have been issued for recovering money from ineligible beneficiaries. A refund module has also been developed on the PM-KISAN portal which is used across the states for recovering money from these ineligible farmers.
"As per operational guidelines physical verification of 5 per cent beneficiaries has to be carried by states and union territories. The necessary instructions have been issued to states and union territories. Accordingly, a module for physical verification has also been developed on the PM-KISAN portal," Tomar said.
"Instructions have been issued to states and union territories to carry out the Social Audit component of the operational guidelines of PM-KISAN and display the list of all the beneficiaries under PM-KISAN at every gram panchayat," he added.
Under the PM-KISAN scheme, the Centre provides an income support of Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments to small and marginal farmer families having combined land holding/ownership of up to 2 hectares.