Nearly 29% of the farmers in Andhra Pradesh registered under the PM KISAN scheme have not received their full benefits, a study looking at the implementation of the welfare measure has found. Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, beneficiary farmers receive an amount of Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 from the Union government. The study, conducted by LibTech India, analysed the benefits received under the scheme by nearly 56 lakh registered farmers in Andhra Pradesh.
The PM KISAN amount of Rs 6,000 is part of the total of Rs 13,500 promised as an annual input subsidy by the YSRCP government under its Rythu Bharosa scheme for small and marginal farmers. Rythu Bharosa also extends to tenant farmers, in which case the state government bears the entire amount. In the period between the launch of the PM KISAN scheme in December 2018 and June 2021, eight instalments were disbursed by the Union government. The total of 56.37 lakh farmers were eligible to receive a total of Rs 8082.9 crore under the scheme in this period. Yet, as of June 2021, only 71% of them had received all the instalments due to them.
Of the total registered beneficiaries in the state, a small number (1.6% or 90,193 farmers) were declared ineligible. Around 29% of the beneficiaries (16.61 lakh of them) are yet to receive one or more instalments, failing to receive the farming input subsidies in time. The amount due to them is around Rs 1091.2 crore, the study found. Around 7% of the total beneficiaries (4,17,212 farmers) had not received any benefits at all since the scheme was launched, as of June 2021, although some of them had registered in the scheme as early as February 2019.
Reasons for delays or exclusions
Researchers Venkata Krishna Kagga and Ajay Palle Swaero of LibTech India, an organisation of engineers and social scientists working on improving accountability in rural public services delivery, conducted field studies in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, East Godavari, Chittoor and Anantapur districts, and also interviewed officials regarding the exclusion of beneficiaries. A random sample of 5% transactional level data from each district (covering 2.85 lakh beneficiaries) was also analysed.
The study found that around 46% of the excluded farmers (7,67,940 of them) are missing their benefits because of bank rejections and other related problems. Another major reason was pending state action, affecting 4,89,480 farmers. Other reasons include failure in verifying Aadhaar number (which has delayed disbursal of Rs 98.6 crore) and delays in processing payments.
According to the researchers, their fieldwork showed that many bank rejection cases, and cases pending state action, have remained unresolved for a period of three to 18 months. Banks were unable to process payments because of technical reasons and the absence of standard operating procedures, causing ambiguity around resolution processes within the scheme, they said.
Urging the state to act on pending payments, the researchers said, â€śFarmers are unaware of the failed payment status to act on to resolve and the possible ways to contest the reason for ineligibility. To avoid this situation, the state should share the data being used to decide the eligibility of the farmers and provide opportunities to contest and correct in the case of errors.â€ť