Over 41k Haryana farmers found ineligible for PM Kisan Samman Nidhi
Launched with much fanfare ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2019, now the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme is giving sleepless nights to thousands of farmers of Haryana who have been found ineligible for the scheme and told to return the money paid to them in the instalments.
Income tax paying farmers of the state are deemed ineligible for the scheme among other factors. The farmers, however, contend that the government had their details when the scheme was launched and the first instalment was made.
As per the information from the state agriculture department, a total of 41,833 farmers, including 38,109 income tax payees, have been found ineligible for the scheme and notices have been served to them for the recovery of ₹41.01 crore paid to them since the scheme was launched in February 2019 - two months before Lok Sabha elections. As
The figures further revealed that a total of 205,056 instalments were paid to these ineligible farmers and 186,677 instalments amounting to ₹37.33 crores were paid to such income tax-paying farmers.
The ineligible farmers are from various districts of the state. While 3,297 of such farmers come from Kurukshetra district, 2699 are in Kaithal, 2645 in Bhiwani, 2461 in Karnal, 2434 in Jind and 2307 in Hisar.
But now the recovery of this money has become a major challenge for the government as most of the farmers are reluctant to return the amount. Out of 38,109 income tax payee farmers, who have been now declared ineligible for the scheme, only 241 farmers have come forward and have returned ₹23.60 lakh to the government. In the other category, 129 farmers have returned ₹11.28 lakh to the government.
Since the government has imposed certain conditions to avail the benefits of this scheme, the number of beneficiaries of the scheme has come down to nearly 14 lakh in July this year, from over 18.98 lakh when the scheme was launched.
As per the figures collected from the PM Kisan portal, the first instalment, which was released two months before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, was paid to 18.98 lakh farmers in Haryana and now the 7th instalment was paid to only 13.76 lakh farmers.
The farmers, who have been told to return the money paid to them termed the scheme as a poll-gimmick.
Randeep Singh Mann, who is among around 200 farmers of Karnal’s Ballah village, has been told to return the money paid to him under the scheme. “This Kisan Samman scheme has now become an insult for the farmers as they are asking me to return ₹2,000 that they paid to me as the first instalment because a shop is also registered on my name,” Mann said.
Since most of the ineligible farmers are income tax payees, the farmers are now raising questions about why were they included in the list of beneficiaries as the government had all details of the farmers.
Virender Singh from Lakhmari village of Kurukshetra district, who has already returned ₹12,000 to the government, said, “I have already returned their money but my question is why did they pay this money to me and now they issued a notice to get it back? They had my details when the scheme was launched”.
However, the officials from the state agriculture department said that they were following the instructions of the Union government.
“The scheme was launched by the central government but at the launch, there was no such condition that an income tax payee will not be eligible for the scheme. But we are bound to follow the instructions,” said a senior officer of the Haryana agriculture department.
When contacted, Hardeep Singh, director-general, Haryana agriculture department said, “As per the directions of the central government, the notices have been issued to the ineligible farmers for the recovery and most of them are income tax payees”.
On, what action will be taken if the farmers do not return the amount, Singh said around ₹35 lakh has already been returned and after the audit is completed a second notice will be served to farmers. “If they do not return the money after the second notice, the issue will be discussed with the government for further steps,” he said.