New Delhi: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana in Gorakhpur, on February 24, he described the scheme as a significant step towards improving the condition of farmers. Since then, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been championing the scheme as a major accomplishment in its rallies for the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
However, a Right to Information query filed by Wire.in revealed that crores of rupees credited into farmers’ accounts under the scheme were reversed within a few hours or days.
The scheme provides ₹6,000 annually, in three instalments of ₹2,000, to farmers who own land totalling two hectares or less. However, the documents, received under the RTI Act, revealed the deposits of ₹2,000, given to thousands of farmers in the form of the first instalment were reversed within a few hours, or a few days in some cases.
In response to the query, 19 national banks in the country including the State Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, UCO Bank, Syndicate Bank, and Canara Bank admitted that for a number of beneficiaries the money credited in the farmers’ accounts under the PM-Kisan Yojana has since been debited.
However, the banks claim ignorance about debited funds.
The Bank of Maharashtra confirmed that some of the money deposited in the farmers’ accounts under the scheme has been deducted.
Meanwhile, the assistant general manager of the UCO bank, AK Barua, told Wire.in that the payment was reversed due to incorrect account numbers of the beneficiaries or other issues regarding Aadhaar cards.
Another national bank, Syndicate Bank said that since it needed to collect the information from different branches across the country, the information cannot be given under Section 7 (9).
Andhra Bank claimed that it had deposited around Rs 170 crore in nearly 8,54,000 accounts. Of this, ₹90,50,02,178 had been “withdrawn” but it cannot be explained whether the money was withdrawn from the scheme money or the farmers’ savings.
Mostly, banks failed to provide any explanation over debited funder the scheme so far.
Unknown to any such case of reversal of funds, the Farmers’ welfare department of the agriculture ministry said, in response to an RTI query, that the state government is responsible for reporting such cases and that no such information has been received by the department so far.
It added that that ₹60,05,48,58,000 had been deposited in the accounts of nearly 3,00,27,429 farmers as the first instalment under the PM-Kisan scheme between December 2018 and March 31, 2019.
Several media reports also claimed that the farmers had started complaining about the debited funds in February.
The Wire.in report said for further details, it also e-mailed a list of questions to the CEO of the PM-Kisan scheme and the joint secretary of the ministry of agriculture. But no response has been received yet.