The government on Wednesday decided to relax the condition that beneficiary farmers need to their Aadhaar particulars matched for getting the third instalment of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme even as two agriculturally-important States -- Maharashtra and Haryana -- were to go to polls to elect new assemblies in less than a fortnight.
The Union Cabinet which met on Wednesday decided to waive the Aadhaar-seeding condition for yet another instalment saying that it was delaying payments at a time the farmers across the country are preparing for the next winter crop.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme landholding, farmers get income support of ₹6,000 per year. The amount is to be released in three 4-monthly instalments of ₹2,000 each directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiary farmers.
"Since the farmers are still gearing up for Rabi season, they are in dire need of money to take care of various farming activities like procurement of seeds, preparation of soil and other associated activities like irrigation, maintenance and mobilisation of machinery and tools. Over and above these pressing needs, the just started the festive season will put further stress on the financial condition of the poor farmers' households in the country. Non-seeding of beneficiaries' details with Aadhaar number will delay the release of further instalments and will cause discontentment among the farmers," an official statement said.
Accordingly, the government relaxed the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding for release of benefits after trimester beginning August 1, 2019. This will enable immediate release of benefits to a large number of farmers who are not able to avail the same due to this requirement, it said. But the Aadhaar seeding condition would be applicable for the fourth instalment which commences on December 1, it said.
The government has so far released a total amount of over ₹27,000 crore under the scheme. While around 6.77 crore farmers got the first instalment, about 5.14 crore and 1.74 crore farmers received the second and third instalments so far.