Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said Rs 18,253 crore has been disbursed to 9.13 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
Under the PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) scheme, each farmer gets Rs 6,000 in a year in three equal installments directly in bank account.
Front-loading the release of the first installment under the PM-KISAN scheme was part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) announced on March 26 to protect the poor from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
The lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 to curb the spread of COVID-19, and since then it has been extended twice.
With regard to further assistance to farmers, the finance minister said that 3 crore farm loan borrowers have opted for a three-month moratorium.
"Since March 2020, 9.13 crore farmers have been paid Rs 18,253 crore under PM-KISAN during the #lockdown. About three crore farmers with agri loans totaling Rs 4,22,113 crore availed the benefit of the 3-month loan moratorium," Sitharaman said in a tweet.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 27 allowed banks to grant moratorium on installments of term loans, scheduled to be paid between March 1 and May 31.
In order to ease burden on loan borrowers, she said, "PSBs contacted more than 95% of borrowers eligible for emergency credit lines & working capital enhancements between March 20 - May 6. The amount sanctioned jumped to Rs 54,544 crore, more than double the amount 2 days ago. Number of cases covered more than tripled."
In an effort to promote rural employment through infra projects, the government has rendered support to states under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
"Support of Rs 4224 cr was provided to states under RIDF during Mar, 2020 for promoting rural employment through infra projects. Working capital limit of Rs 6700 cr has been sanctioned for procurement of agriculture commodities to State Govt entities since Mar, 2020," she said in another tweet.
The RIDF is a pool created by shortfall of specified priority sector lending of banks. The fund is managed by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is thus utilised for development of rural infrastructure in the country.
Domestic commercial banks contribute to the fund to the extent of their shortfall in stipulated priority sector lending to agriculture.
The main objective of the fund is to provide loans to state governments and state-owned corporations to enable them to complete ongoing rural infrastructure projects.