Since the commencement of the PM-KISAN Yojana in 2019, Rs 1,364.13 crore has been paid to ineligible persons and income tax payee farmers, according to data obtained under the Right to Information Act.
A total of 20.48 lakh undeserving persons across the country had received PM-KISAN pay-outs until July 31, 2020, according to information provided by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare in response to an RTI application filed by transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak.
More than half—55.58 per cent—of these undeserving persons belong to the income tax payee category, showed the datasets provided by the government, which contained state and Union territory-wise information about pay-outs to ineligible persons. The remaining 44.41 per cent belong to the ineligible farmers category.
A state-wise analysis of the data shows that Punjab tops the list with regard to pay-outs made to undeserving persons, accounting for 23.16 per cent (4.74 lakh) of the total number of ineligible persons to benefit under the scheme. Assam came next, with 16.87 per cent (3.45 lakh) such persons receiving PM-KISAN funds, and Maharashtra was at third place, with 13.99 per cent (2.86 lakh).
Gujarat takes the fourth position with 8.05 per cent (1.6 lakh), followed by Uttar Pradesh at fifth position with 8.01 per cent (1.642 lakh).
Punjab and Assam topped the list of states where ineligible farmers outnumbered the IT payee farmers among the beneficiaries under the scheme. In Punjab, more than 93 per cent (4.42 lakh) belonged to the 'ineligible farmers' category, while this proportion was 99.99 per cent in Assam (3.45 lakh).
An analysis of the datasets shows that a whopping Rs 1,364.13 crore was paid out to undeserving recipients. At Rs 985.09 crore, the pay-outs to IT payee farmers constituted 72.28 per cent of the total, even though this category includes only 55.58 per cent of the total number of recipients. Pay-outs to 'ineligible farmers', at Rs 379.03 crore, amounted to 27.78 per cent of the total.
With Rs 323.85 crore, Punjab topped the list of states and Union territories where undeserving persons received the largest amount of pay-outs—23.74 per cent of the total. Maharashtra, with Rs 216.90 crore, takes second position (15.90 per cent), followed by Gujarat in third place with Rs 162.34 crore (11.90 per cent).
“In the final analysis, despite the employment of digital infrastructure to register and make payments to farmers, more than 20 lakh undeserving persons are known to be included in the PM-KISAN Yojana as of July-end, 2020. In some instances, all five instalments seem to have been paid out before it was discovered that many of the recipients were undeserving as per the exclusion criteria of the scheme. In other cases, the discovery seems to have been made soon after one or two instalments were paid out,” said Nayak.