There were as many as 11.29 lakh instances of failure to transfer PM-KISAN funds to the bank accounts of beneficiaries all over the country during the COVID-19 lockdown period even as front-ending payment of one installment under the scheme as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana was aimed at providing relief to the people hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic.
The transfer failures were reported during the lockdown period, between March 23 and July 31, according to information provided by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare in response to an application under the Right to Information Act by transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak.
Madhya Pradesh accounted for the largest number of failed transactions – 7.29 lakh or 64.55 per cent of the total number, followed by Maharashtra with more than 85,000 transfer failures or 7.54 per cent of the total.
Karnataka, with more than 55,000 failures, took third place at 4.94 per cent. Bihar was at fourth position with more than 51,000 failures (4.52 per cent), and Uttar Pradesh, with almost 48,000 failures (4.24 per cent), stood at fifth position. Together, the top five states account for almost 86 per cent of the total figure of transfer failures during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Sikkim had the lowest number of transfer failures – 19 only. Goa with 118 cases, Arunachal Pradesh with 141 instances, Mizoram with 218 cases and Meghalaya with 233 cases figure at the bottom of this pile.
Among the union territories, Jammu and Kashmir accounted for almost 97 per cent or 6,794 of the total transfer failures.
According to Nayak, although the information furnished by the government did not indicate the funds involved, if one were to assume that each case of transfer failure pertains to one installment of Rs 2,000 which could not be paid, the total figure involved is more than Rs 22.58 lakh. How many beneficiaries were affected is also not known.
A total of 6.33 lakh instances of failed transactions were successfully reprocessed, according to the information provided. This is a little more than 56 per cent of the total failed transactions as on July 31, 2020. In other words, almost 44 per cent of the failed transactions remained as such on that date.
“It looks like the digital mode of making payments of PM-KISAN beneficiaries is largely successful, but a considerable number of beneficiaries might not have received their dues during the lockdown period,” Nayak said.
He also pointed out that while the Centre has claimed that it paid the latest installment in December, 2020 to more than nine crore farmer households, the latest figure of beneficiaries displayed on the PM-KISAN website is 11.50 crore.