Collecting Data On 50L Maharashtra Farmers Eligible For Subsidy A Challenge

By Hindustan Times on 20 Feb 2019 | read
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Being one of the major BJP-ruled governments, the Centre wants Maharashtra to give away the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to 50 lakh farmers by February 24.

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Of the 1.53 crore marginal and small farmers in Maharashtra, 1.2 crore (who have less than 2 hectares of land) are eligible for aid under the PMKSN scheme announced on February 4.(HT File )

A tight deadline – uploading the information of 50 lakh Maharashtra farmers who got the direct subsidy benefit of Rs 6,000 under the PM Kisan Sanman Nidhi (PMKSN) by February 20 – could lead to ineligible farmers being included to the list of beneficiaries, fears the administration. Moreover, absence of land records linked with Aadhaar and scientific procedure for verification of banks accounts and farmers from excluded categories could lead to errors.

Of the 1.53 crore marginal and small farmers in Maharashtra, 1.2 crore (who have less than 2 hectares of land) are eligible for aid under the scheme announced on February 4. Those paying income tax, in government jobs or professionals, or holding statutory posts are not eligible. Being one of the major BJP-ruled governments, the Centre wants Maharashtra to give away the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to 50 lakh farmers by February 24.

The state government has issued strict instructions to the local level revenue officials to achieve the target by working on “mission mode”. Consequently, the officials had to work on Tuesday, a public holiday. So far, they have managed to verify data of 15 lakh farmers. They plan to use the data of 50 lakh farmers, who were declared eligible for the loan waiver announced last year, and get information on 15 lakh more from other sources. Collecting the data of the remaining 40 lakh farmers still remains a challenge.

“The data collected for loan waiver does not have the details of landholding, as it was not related to the land owned by a farmer. With no time for verification of the 7/12 extract, even farmers owning more than 2 hectares are likely to get the cash benefit. The verification and data crunching is done by talathis, a village-level revenue official, which means a beneficiary’s holding elsewhere will not be added to the account. Many such cases could make it to the list,” said an agriculture officer from Vidarbha.

The farmers are expected to give self-declaration about the landholding. Officials complain that this leaves room for manipulation by beneficiaries, as unlike in the loan waiver scheme, accounts, too, will not be verified by banks. Officials feel as the forms are to be uploaded by officials, with no say for farmers, there is a likelihood of errors in personal details.

Farm activist Girdhar Patil said, “It is a gimmick by the Central government and a way to lure farmers. There is a possibility that those who have land, but don’t do farming, may get the benefits, besides other manipulation at administrative level.”

Eknath Davale, secretary, agriculture department, said, “We have the verified data of 63 lakh farmers retrieved from various sources, including the National Land Records Management Programme, farmer census 2015-16, loan waiver scheme, among others. We have been mapping the data. Even if we come across errors, they can be fixed at later stages.”

 

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