More than Rs 2,326 crore has been transferred to 32.91 lakh ineligible beneficiaries, including income tax payees, under the PM-KISAN scheme and state governments have registered cases against them, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), the government provides income support to farmers by transferring annually Rs 6,000 in three equal instalments to eligible farmers directly into their bank accounts.
Tomar said the structure of the scheme inherently comprises of mechanism for exclusion of errors on the basis of continuous verification and validation of data of beneficiaries by various authorities. "However, during the verification process, it was found that an amount of Rs 2,326.88 crore was transferred to 32,91,152 ineligible beneficiaries, including income tax payees," Tomar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
He also mentioned that "few instances have been reported from states where the credentials of block/ district officials have been misused to approve the applications of ineligible farmers under PM-KISAN". Sharing state-wise data on ineligible beneficiaries, Tomar said Karnataka government has informed that 2,03,819 wrong registrations have been identified and FIRs have been lodged accordingly.
Tamil Nadu has informed that nearly 6 lakh registrations have been identified as ineligible due to wrongful activity and from these Rs 158.57 crore has been recovered till now. On action taken against ineligible beneficiaries, the minister said Tamil Nadu has informed that around 16 FIRs have been lodged against the culprits and more than 100 arrests were made.
In Gujarat, nearly 7,000 beneficiaries have been identified as ineligible due to wrongful activities in the state, he added. Gujarat has informed that wrong cases under the PM-KISAN scheme have been found in two districts of Gujarat and FIRs filed accordingly. In Gujarat, 55 suspected user IDs have been deactivated.
Highlighting steps taken to improve improve infrastructure under PM-KISAN, the minister said the PM-KISAN portal has been integrated with UIDAI and beneficiaries of states are Aadhaar-authenticated except for Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Meghalaya and Assam who are exempted till March 31, 2021. Further, the PM-KISAN portal has been integrated with the Income Tax database to identify beneficiaries who are income tax payees.
All the identified income tax payees are marked as ineligible as per the scheme. Hence, are excluded from receiving the benefits under the PM-KISAN, he said. That apart, the minister said that 'Standard Operation Guidelines' have been issued for recovering money from ineligible beneficiaries. A refund module has also been developed on the PM-KISAN portal which is used across the states for recovering money from these ineligible beneficiaries.
As per the operational guidelines, physical verification of 5 per cent beneficiaries has to be carried by states and Union Territories. The necessary instructions have been issued to states. Accordingly, a module for physical verification has also been developed on the PM-KISAN portal. Besides, instructions have been issued to states/ UTs to carry out the 'Social Audit component' of the operational guidelines of PM-KISAN and display the list of all the beneficiaries under PM-KISAN at every gram panchayat, the minister added.