The Tamil Nadu government has made a shocking discovery and found that the PM Kisan scheme which is meant to benefit the poor has been used for a major scam in which over ₹110 crore was fraudulently withdrawn and that too with the help of government officials and some local politicians.
Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary to the state of Tamil Nadu, while addressing the media said that a dramatically high number of people were added to the scheme in August. An investigation found that officials in the agricultural department had made use of the online application approval system and added many beneficiaries illegally. The modus operandi involved government officials providing login ID and password to brokers who added new beneficiaries and got ₹2,000 per addition.
Principal Secretary Bedi also said that 80 odd officials associated with agricultural schemes have been dismissed and 34 others have been suspended. Eighteen people identified as broker or agents have been arrested.
"The government has retrieved ₹32 crore from the siphoned ₹110 crore. The government has now said the rest of the money will be retrieved in the next 40 days," reported India Today.
The scam was detected after a sudden surge in beneficiaries to the PM Kisan scheme. Another major reason was also because of the proximity of the districts from which the numbers increased.
It was found that Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Ranipet, Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Chengalpet districts were the ones were the scam was going on. Most of the new beneficiaries were unaware of being added to the scheme.
Two senior officials in Kalakurichi were suspended in the last week of August in relation to the corruption in the distribution of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan scheme.
The discrepancy in the distribution of funds to farmers came to light after a complaint was filed regarding non-farmers being given funds from the scheme. In the enquiry, it was found that the ₹6,000 yearly funds for farmers were given away to other people after taking a commission/cut by the officials.