PM Modi launches direct cash benefit scheme for farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Rs.75,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi cash transfer scheme for small and marginal cultivators.

The scheme was announced in the interim budget on February 1 ahead of national polls due this summer. Rs.6,000 would annually be transferred in three installments into bank accounts of farmers with less than two-hectare land holdings.

Modi contrasted the scheme with farm loan waivers. He said the waivers, unlike the scheme, benefit a select few as he initiated the electronic transfer of the first installment of Rs.2,000 each into the bank accounts of 10.1 million farmers under PM-KISAN. Modi said the earlier farm loan waiver schemes only benefitted “Congress workers” and added the PM Kishan scheme will benefit all farmers.

“Loan waivers would have been easy and convenient for us too. We could also have distributed lollypops for political and election benefits, but we cannot commit such a sin. Loan waiver benefits only a select few,” said Modi in UP’s Gorakhpur.

Farm loan waiver was among the Congress’s key promises as it wrested power from the BJP in December in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which account for 65 out of 545 Lok Sabha seats.

Modi insisted PM Kishan was not just an “election promise” and warned the farmers against rumours that the money being given under the scheme will be taken back. “This is your money and it will not be taken back.”

Modi said the first installments under the scheme have been deposited into the bank accounts of farmers directly and those left out will get them soon. “There are no middlemen in this scheme and it is being implemented with complete transparency,” Modi told a gathering after interacting with a select group of farmers from different states via videoconferencing. Modi, who also launched several other projects worth Rs.10,000 crore in Gorakhpur and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, said his government was working to provide all possible resources to help farmers double their incomes by 2022.

The Opposition parties linked the scheme’s launch to the national polls to oppose it.

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