Prime Minister Narendra transferred 19,000 crore rupees under the scheme of PM Kisaan Samaan Nidhi Yojna to the farmers across the nation today. The scheme was announced by Piyush Goyal in 2019 and this is the eighth instalment of the funds transferred to farmers. Small and marginal farmers are supposed to receive 6000/- annually with the help of this scheme.
The scheme has not only failed at its implementation levels but also has raised questions on the seriousness of government to look at the challenges faced by the farmers. Farmer leader Dhalewal had earlier destroyed the claims of PM Yojna point wise in the month of Jan. The scheme is more of an eye wash and does very little to solve the problems of farmers. Here are some points to ponder before lauding this eye wash scheme.
2000/- is not enough
It is ironic that the name of the scheme is ‘Kisan Samaan Yojna’ because a sum of 2000/- rupees is insulting in the times of inflation. The scheme gives a total of 6000/- to Farmer in three instalments and is completely cut off from the ground realities of agriculture in nation. For example this scheme assumes that farmer has a small family and 2000/ is enough as a safety net for him to carry out his activities at the start of the season. The government is in complete ignorance of the fact that costs of production for farmers have risen many folds. Let us take a look at some costs incurred by a farmer.
DAP price has been revised to 1900/- from 1100/-
Diesel price has risen to 88-90 from 62
The cost of seeds is not taken into account.
The cost of fertilisers is not taken into account.
The labour force employed by farmer is not taken into account. For small and marginal farmers, families work on the fields and hence that cost of family labour is never paid at all.
The small farmer is not only producer but also a consumer who depends on PDS or private buying. With no guaranteed price for his crop he often gets less than MsP or sometimes his crop is not procured at all. This leaves farmer with nothing in hand.
Farmer Jagjit Singh in Patiala tells me that he received Pm’s Kisan fund in his account and used it on the same day to pay off his dues to labour and fertiliser supplier. He says that there are farmers who have not received the money in their accounts at all. We went to meet another farmer who has never received money under the scheme. Gurbaksh singh who was at Singhu Border as well says that he has not received any instalment of the fund. He said that his account is linked and his Aadhar is also linked but no one is keen to solve why funds never reach him.
Another small farmer Harcharan Kaur, a widow who lost her husband to suicide due to farm debt tells me that she has a family of four. She says that her landholding after the death of her husband has shrunk to mere 1acre from 3.2 acres. “I had to sell off the land and the tractors to pay the debt. My husband worked really hard and never wanted to sell the land” she says pointing to the plot that no longer belongs to her. She says that she has a son, a daughter and her mother in law who depend on her for survival. “2000/- is not enough. It does not cover month’s expenditure as well.”
Now that it is well accepted fact among farming community that PM Kisan Yojna is a bandaid for headache farmers demand that Swaminathan formula be implemented and farmers be paid the costs they work for. “We don’t want to be given easy pea nuts in our accounts, give us what we deserve.” said a farmer who is standing in line outside Patiala’s Rajindra Hospital. He said that he has so far spent 28,000 for hospitalisation of his son who is suffering from Covid and other complications. He says that instead of making eye wash policies like ‘Depositing peanuts in our accounts’ Govt needs to work on easing up institutionalised credit and making respectful payments for the hard work that farmers do. The chorus from all farming community is that consumption costs need to be as per Swaminathan formula and these eye wash policies can wait. These policies are seen nothing more than PR activities of the Prime minister.
Let us now come to the implementation failures of the PM Kisan Yojna. According to information received in reply to an RTI, Over 1.12 million fund transfer failures were reported across the country under the PM-Kisan scheme during the Covid lockdown between March 23 and July 31. As many as 63,30,00, or over 56% of the failed transactions as of July 31, were successfully reprocessed but beneficiaries in the remaining 44% may not have received the money.
RTI further notes that Madhya Pradesh accounted for the largest–64.55%–of failed transactions (72,90,00) followed by Maharashtra with 85,000 (7.54%). Karnataka reported over 55,000 failures, Bihar 51,000 and Uttar Pradesh 48,000 failures. Together these five states accounted for almost 86% of the total fund transfer failures during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In addition to this there is no data on who are the beneficiaries who suffered due to the failures in payment processing. It can thus be concluded that the eye wash policies with PR do not solve anything for the farmers on ground. PM Kisan Yojna is more or less a mockery of the ground situation of farmer in India.