Are there farmers doing cultivation in Chennai district, one of the big urban agglomerations in the country? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” There are at least 90 “small and marginal” farmers in Chennai district and they are all beneficiaries of the PM-KISAN, an income support scheme with an annual payout of ₹6,000.
Small and marginal farmers are those who own cultivable land up to 2 hectares or five acres.
So far, the popular impression was that the city had no practising agriculturists. But, the shift in the position has been attributed to the expansion of revenue limits of the Chennai district announced early last year to include many villages of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts.
Of course, Chennai has the lowest number of beneficiary farmers under the scheme, according to data on the website of PM-Kisan Sanman Nidhi, https://www.pmkisan.gov.in/
Totally, there are 19,45,210 beneficiary farmers in the State, says the website. However, as per the information with the State government, around 21.02 lakh farmers received the first instalment of ₹2,000 each, amounting to about ₹420.4 crore and 16.62 lakh farmers during the second instalment (₹332.46 crore). Though the data regarding 27 lakh farmers have been uploaded, all these persons are expected to receive the financial assistance only when the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections is lifted later next month. Eventually, the figure of beneficiary farmers may touch over 40 lakh.
A perusal of the district-wise data of the beneficiaries reveals an interesting aspect. Though known as an agriculturally intensive region with a large number of small and marginal farmers, the districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam have fewer beneficiaries than anticipated. They have 96,721 farmers, of whom Nagapattinam accounts for 17,057; Tiruvarur – 24,832 and Thanjavur, the rest.
There are two reasons for this: temples owning substantial numbers of cultivable lands and the absence of proper documents regarding ownership. On the contrary, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, which are affected by rampant urbanisation, given their proximity to Chennai, have 57,530 and 41,511 farmers, totalling 99,041.
The top three districts in terms of beneficiaries are Villupuram (2,12,002), Tiruvannamalai (1,38,750) and Vellore (1,21,671).