• Farmers who wish to avail themselves of benefits under PM-KISAN, the new income support scheme announced in the Union Budget, must have Aadhaar identification to get the money from the second instalment, which would be paid by July 2019.
• However, this would not be compulsory for the first instalment expected to be disbursed by March 31, before the Lok Sabha polls.
• States have been told to prepare a database of beneficiaries — small and marginal landholder farmer families in all villages including whether they belong to SC/ST, bank account, mobile and Aadhaar details.
• For transfer of the first installment, Aadhaar number “shall be collected wherever available”, wrote Mr. Agarwal. An alternate list of identification documents has also been provided, as options.
• However, for transfer of subsequent installments, Aadhaar number shall have to be compulsorily captured.
• States have also been told to update their land records, as that would serve as the basis for determination of landholding for beneficiaries.
• However, the secretary also said that the cut-off date for determination of ownership of land (as per land records) under the scheme was already over; the cut-off date was February 1, 2019.
• Changes thereafter in land records shall not be considered for eligibility of the benefit to the new land holder for next 5 years.
• The situation is slightly more complicated in the northeastern States, as land ownership rights in the region are community-based, making it difficult to identify beneficiaries.
• An alternate implementation mechanism would be developed by a committee including the State governments, as well as the Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Land Resources ministry and Agriculture ministry, the official wrote.
• States would be given a maximum of 0.25% of funds transferred to beneficiaries in the first installment to pay for their administrative expenses in the implementation of the scheme.
• That amount would drop to 0.125% for all further installments.
Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
Prelims level: PM-KISAN
Mains level: PM-KISAN and its mandate