PM Modi Launches PM-KISAN Scheme, Rs 2,000 Transferred To Over 1 Crore Farmers
Prime Minister on February 24, 2019, launched Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) cash transfer scheme for small and marginal farmers. The scheme was launched in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, reported the Hindustan Times. During the interim budget that took place on February 1, the scheme was announced by interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Just months away from the 2019 General Elections, the BJP government will transfer Rs 25,000 crore to bank accounts of more than 12 crore farmers under this scheme, reported the Business Today. Overall the cost to exchequer would be Rs 75,000 crore.
According to the scheme, in three instalments, Rs 6,000 would be annually transferred into the bank accounts of these farmers. Farmers owning less than two-hectare land holdings are only eligible to get benefit from this scheme.
Loan waivers and the scheme
PM Modi while announcing the scheme drew a line between farm loan waivers and the scheme. He praised the scheme and said that unlike the farm loan waivers, where only a select few enjoy the benefit, this will benefit everyone. He also said that the farm loan waivers only helped “Congress workers”. He has already initiated electronic transfers of Rs 2,000 each into the bank accounts of 1 crore farmers. He further said that farmers who have not received Rs 2,000 as of now, will receive it soon.
Taking a jibe at Congress, Modi said that BJP could also have gone forward with loan waivers, as they are easy, but instead opted for the scheme which will help all instead of a selected few. Taunting the opposition he said, “We could also have distributed lollypops for election benefits, but we cannot commit such a sin”. Congress before contesting elections in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan in December 2018 had mentioned waiving off farm loans as one of their key promises. Modi further said that the PM-KISAN scheme is not just an “election promise” and asked the farmers not to worry about the money, as it will not be taken back. Modi while assuring the farmers said that there are no middlemen in this scheme and it is being implemented with complete transparency. The BJP government under Modi has also launched several other projects worth Rs 10,000 crore in Gorakhpur and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Opposition parties insist foul play
Soon after Modi launched the scheme, the Opposition parties have started questioning the real motive of BJP behind it. They said that to fill the vote bank, such a scheme was launched. Former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram took to Twitter to condemn the BJP’s move. He related the Rs 2,000 instalment provided by the Modi-led government to ‘bribe for votes’. He also said that nothing can be more shameful in a democratic country where bribes are being given in exchange of votes. He further questioned why the Election Commission [EC] is unable to stop the process.
Nothing can be more shameful in a democracy than 'Bribe for Votes'.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 24, 2019
However, the EC can stop a scheme only after the model code of conduct comes into force. According to the code, it can oppose a government from announcing schemes that may influence voters in the run-up to elections. The code will come into play only after a poll schedule is announced. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav said that the scheme is a poll sop. He further said that the farm crisis is a national crisis and requires a national solution.
The farm crisis is a national crisis and needs a national solution, no poll-sop or individual state can implement change at this scale — we stand with farmers everywhere and promise to bring about a #GoldenRevolution for all farmers regardless of caste, creed or religion
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) February 24, 2019
The Bahujan Samaj Party Chief Mayawati too condemned the scheme and said that it is an insult for farmers. She further said that the farmer’s family will get only Rs 17 daily under the scheme. She referred the scheme as an election year stunt.
Giving @ Rs 17 per day to few farmers just before Lok Sabha elections is pure hoodwinking. BJP reflects poor in their thinking towards farmers and solving their misery. BJP misused govt power & machinery in a brazen manner and still not hesitating.
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) February 24, 2019