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J’khand: Unique ID cards for farmers under new ‘Birsa Kisan’ initiative

In a first of its kind initiative, the Jharkhand agriculture department is working on issuing unique identity cards to lakhs of eligible farmers in the state to smoothen the process of providing all kinds of assistance, including direct benefit transfer, distribution of seeds and fertilizers and agricultural loan, officials concerned said on Wednesday
As per estimates, there are around 58 lakh farmers in the state. (HT File)
Updated on Aug 18, 2021 09:59 PM IST
By Vishal Kant, Ranchi

In a first of its kind initiative, the Jharkhand agriculture department is working on issuing unique identity cards to lakhs of eligible farmers in the state to smoothen the process of providing all kinds of assistance, including direct benefit transfer, distribution of seeds and fertilizers and agricultural loan, officials concerned said on Wednesday.

Under the new initiative, named Birsa Kisan, the agriculture department would come up with a dedicated portal containing records of all registered farmers and a chip-based identity card would be issued to them, which would also help in weeding out “ghost farmers” in the state, officials said.

“We have engaged the National Informatics Centre to develop the portal and cards. These cards would have all the details related to farmers, including their Aadhar number, bank account, mobile number and land holding records. Later, we would also include the history of schemes and loans they have availed in the past,” said Nisha Oraon, director, agriculture.

As per estimates, there are around 58 lakh farmers in the state. The agriculture department’s data is based on benefits availed under different schemes in the state. While the project would be implemented in phases and could take around three years to cover all eligible farmers, Oraon said the department was targeting to provide cards to atleast those farmers whose e-KYC has been done in the next two to three months.

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“The e-KYC was already done for around 3.5 lakh farmers for loan waiver recently. Issuing cards to them would not be a problem. After such farmers are covered, we would target those who have not been able to get any benefit in the past,” said Oraon.

The official said in order to make it convenient for farmers living in remote areas, they are working to utilize banking correspondents for the e-KYC process. “Pragya kendras often get overcrowded. Many farmers live in remote areas making it difficult for farmers to do the formalities,” said Oraon.

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