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PM Modi’s kisan relief for small farmers stuck in Opposition-ruled states

Even before its official unveiling, the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi — that provides for a relief of Rs 6,000 per year to small and marginal farmers — has run into rough weather as several non-BJP state governments have expressed their reluctance or sought more time to part with the data sought by the Narendra Modi governement for transfer of the first installment of Rs 2,000 each to peasants’ back accounts.

Sources stated that Andhra Pradesh,  Telangana and Odisha, ruled by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) respectively and Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Chhatti-sgarh and Rajasthan, are seemingly reluctant to share data for fund transfer.

The Central scheme is proposed to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gorakh-pur, Uttar Pradesh, on Februray 24. It is understood that these states have petitioned the Central government seeking a reimbursement of their share of allocation claiming that such  schem-es for farmers welfare are already being implemented by them and they wanted to disburse the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi amount under the existing state schemes.

For example, the Telangana government has pointed out that its scheme Rythu Bandhu is already providing Rs 4,000 per acre per season to support the farm investment, twice a year, for rabi and kharif seasons.

Odisha and Telangana have also sought more time for the submission of relevant data claiming that the account numbers and land records need verification, sources added.

Sources stated that only about two crore farmers from across the country have registered under the scheme and are likely to receive the tranfer of relief funds within the next few days.

“A majority of the data for transfer of funds under the scheme has come from BJP ruled states with Uttar Pradesh and Maharasthra leading in this,” sources added.

The BJP is hoping that this scheme — targeted at small and marginal farmers — is going to be the “game changer” for the party which hopes to improve its chances in rural areas ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. However, if the tussle between the Centre and the state governments over the sharing of data continues it could hurt the prospects of the Modi government to highlight this pro-farmer scheme as one of its leading poll planks.

The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi  — a fully funded Central government scheme — is being viewed as one of the biggest relief measures promised by the  Modi government that provides for Rs 6,000 per year to farmers “in three instalments”.

The scheme is targeted as a relief to small and marginal farm owners who make up a bulk of the agrarian population. The scheme was announced the interim budget.

A majority of Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers, BJP MPs and other senior leaders have been asked to be present in rural areas to take part in distribution ceremonies for the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to farmers.

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