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Release funds to pay arrears to farmers under PM-KISAN scheme: Mamata tells PM

Release funds to pay arrears to farmers under PM-KISAN scheme: Mamata tells PM
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Kolkata: Within a day after taking oath as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term, Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to implement the promises made by him before the Assembly polls to farmers of Bengal of giving benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), including immediate transfer of Rs 18,000 to each of the beneficiaries.

"I would like to further impress that during your recent visit to the state, you gave repeated assurances on releasing the arrear amount of Rs 18,000 to each farmer, but till date, no fund has been received by the state of West Bengal or the farmers," Banerjee wrote to the Prime Minister after stating that her government has made all arrangements so that "Modi's concerned ministry" can help the farmers get their due benefit without any restrictions.

It needs a mention that PM-KISAN was one of the key issues picked up by the saffron camp in the recently-concluded Assembly polls in Bengal and they had tried to make people believe that it was Mamata Banerjee's government that did not allow the implementation of the same in the state "despite all steps being taken by the Bengal government in this regard". Starting from Modi, Union Home minister Amit Shah to the entire BJP leadership, all kept harping on the same and assured the farmers of giving arrears of Rs 18,000 at the earliest after coming to power. It was even in BJP's election manifesto.

"Out of the 21.79 lakh farmers who had registered for the scheme as per letter of Union Agriculture Minister, dated November 6 in 2020, 14.19 lakh data have been uploaded on the portal, which were duly verified and of which 9.84 lakh data are ready for PFMS," she mentioned in the letter adding that the state government, about five months ago, appointed State Nodal Agency (SNA), State Nodal Officer (SNO), opened two bank accounts viz State National Account and Administrative Account following operational guidelines of the scheme, the details of which were communicated to the ministry and were even acknowledged by them.

Mentioning that she had earlier written to Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in this connection and several communications were made by the state government, Banerjee informed the Prime Minister that "no concrete response has yet been received from the Ministry on this" by her government. She also requested to "release due fund to the eligible farmers and share the database of the 21.79 lakh farmers".

This comes when the state has already extended support to its farmers through the Krishak Bandhu scheme since December 2018. Till date, the state government has disbursed Rs 1,498 crore to help 57.67 lakh farmers under the scheme and Rs 242 crore was disbursed to support family members after demise of a farmer under the same scheme.

"Further, all farmers (in Bengal) are covered under this scheme, whereas PM-Kisan has long exclusion list comprising of Bargadar/sharecroppers, persons giving self-declaration, serving or retired employees, income taxpayers, etc.

Moreover, under the Kishan Bandhu scheme, beneficiaries below 60 years get death benefit assistance of Rs 2 lakh," she stated in her letter.

Banerjee said her pre-poll assurances, including increasing the benefit under Krishak Bandhu to Rs 10,000 per year, doorstep delivery of ration under "Duare Sarkar" scheme and financial support to women worth Rs 500 per month to those belonging to the general caste while Rs 1000 for women from the SC/ST categories will be implemented once the Covid situation improves.

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