The launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme in Kerala on Sunday became embroiled in controversy as it was done at two separate places: one by the state government and the other one by Union Minister KJ Alphons.
PM-KISAN, announced by Union Minister Piyush Goyal during the Interim Budget, is a scheme in which 120 million small and marginal farmers who have less than two hectares (4.9 acres) of landholding will get up to Rs 6,000 per year as minimum income support in three instalments.
State Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying that the launch of the scheme at another venue by Alphons was against the principles of federalism.
"Kerala is not a Union Territory and the Centre should ask the state government when they organise the launch (of a national scheme). The Centre is duty-bound to inform the state and Alphons has played cheap politics," he told media after launching the programme at Kottayam.
Alphons launched PM-KISAN at the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, which comes under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), in the capital city.
Local legislator Kadakampally Surendran, who is also the state Tourism Minister, was not invited to the function, nor were any state government officials.
However, Alphons slammed the CPI (M), saying that its state government is adept in converting all Central programmes into programmes and projects of the Kerala government.
"The present Kerala government have converted a few Central schemes into their own schemes, by just twisting their names. They only want money and using it, they come out with their own schemes. Today my agenda was to meet the farmers and I did that," he told media after launching the programme in Thiruvananthapuram.