Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the eighth installment of over Rs 19,000 crore to more than 9.5 crore farmer-beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKSN) scheme on Friday.
While interacting virtually through video conferencing, PM Modi said, “On the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, around Rs 19,000 crores have directly been transferred to the bank accounts of eligible farmers. More than 9.5 Crore farmers will be benefitted and for the first time farmers from West Bengal will be benefited under PMKSN.”
Elaborating more on beneficiaries from West Bengal, he said, “through this PMKSN, we have seen how small and marginal farmers are getting benefited from this scheme. Besides farmers from Punjab and Haryana who also benefited from the direct transfers for the first time, nearly 7.03 lakhs farmers from West Bengal will receive the benefit under this scheme today.”
Overall, around 11 crore farmers have received around Rs 1,35,000 crore under the PM-KISAN scheme so far, Modi said, adding that about Rs 60,000 crore has been transferred during the COVID-19 pandemic. “PM-KISAN is benefitting small and marginal farmers. In these difficult times, this money is helping these farmers a lot. So far under the scheme, about 11 crore farmers have got Rs 1.35 lakh crore in their bank accounts. There are no middlemen," Modi said.
While encouraging farmers to go for organic farming, he said, “organic farming delivers more profit and it is practiced across the nation by the farmers and young entrepreneurs. The central government is determined to provide new solutions, new technology in farming. We are promoting organic farming because the cost of such crops is low and return is higher. Not the least, it is also good for us (in terms of healthy food) and for our nature.”
PM Modi commended farmers for their record produce this time in the midst of COVID-19 crisis. “Despite COVID-19, farmers have produced records in agriculture and horticulture. The central government is also setting new procurement records when it comes to MSP,” he said.
In the context of the vaccination drive, he said, “the Central government along with state governments is ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccines reach citizens as quickly as possible. We are driving the largest vaccination drive and I would like to request all to register themselves for the vaccination because this is one of the key steps to defeat the virus. So far already 18 crore people have been vaccinated in India.”
PM Modi urged people to follow COVID-19 safety norms and stress for masks even after getting a vaccination.
Expressing concern over rising cases of COVID-19 in rural India, he said, “this virus is now spreading in rural areas in India. I would like to request all the panchayats to ensure proper awareness and sanitation in their respective villages. I believe that we will overcome this challenge with our strength and dedication because India is not a nation that loses hope in tough times.”
Taking cognizance of black-marketing of COVID-19 drugs, he said, “the Centre is in touch with the Pharma sectors and they are manufacturing and delivering medicines at a large scale. However, reports of ill practices (black-marketing of medicines) is unfortunate. I would like to request all the state governments to ensure strict laws to counter black marketing of medicines and medical supplies. I request them to take stern actions against those who are involved in such malpractices.”
It was learnt that nearly 40 lakh out of 70 lakh (approx) farmers of West Bengal have registered themselves to avail the PMKSN scheme.
The State Nodal officers verified nearly 14 lakh farmers and out of this 14 lakh, nearly seven lakh farmers have been verified through the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), which made them eligible to avail the first round of benefit.
The central government sends money through the PFMS into the nodal account of the state government. From the nodal account, the money instantly transferred to the beneficiary farmers bank accounts. Meanwhile, the West Bengal Home Department claimed that the farmers got their benefits today only because of the consistent demand of State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Later the State Home Department tweeted, “Due to demand and actions of CM and GOWB, 7 lakh farmers of West Bengal got their due entitlement, the first installment of Kisan Samman Nidhi today by direct transfer as per data submitted by State. The state will fight for its farmers.”
The State government also clarified that West Bengal did not receive any invitation for the PM Kisan fund release programme today.