On Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, transferring the first instalment of ₹2,000 each to over one crore beneficiaries, Ashok Lahamage received an SMS from State Bank of India’s Sinnar (Nashik) branch, stating that ₹2,000 had been deposited into his account. But, to his surprise, he received another text message from the bank a few hours later, stating that the money deposited had been debited.




“Since Sunday I’m trying to find what went wrong. But nobody has an answer. Bank officials asked me to mail their Mumbai head office. But till date I have got no answer,” Lahamage told BusinessLine .

He is not the only farmer in Maharashtra with this complaint. Over 1,000 farmers in Nanded district in Marathwada region of the State were shocked when they came to know that money deposited in their account was withdrawn. While complaints continue across the district, the Nanded district administration claimed that there was “some technical” problem and that the issue has been sorted out, with the farmers getting the money back into their accounts.

Complaints of withdrawal of money from accounts came from other districts in Maharashtra as well. “Farmers are calling us to inform us that money deposited under the PM-Kisan scheme is being debited. Even today I got a call. This is ridiculous and irritating. No one in the government and administration is able to tell us why this is happening,” said Anil Ghanvat, President of Shetkari Sanghatana, a leading farmers’ organisation.

Government officials have no clear answers. “Per the Agriculture Commissioner’s information, this happened in some accounts in Nandgaon. But we have not received any complaints. I can’t tell what might have happened. Prima facie I find no reason why this should happen,” said Nashik Divisional Commissioner Rajaram Mane.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Santosh Venikar, Resident Deputy Collector of Nanded, said: “In our district, the problem occurred only in the Nanded District Cooperative Bank. But all farmers whose money was withdrawn have got back their money”.

PM Kisan CEO’s response

Vivek Agrawal, CEO of PMKisan, confirmed the developments in Nanded: “We received complaints about around 1,020 accounts in Nanded Cooperative Bank, with the State government initially saying the names were not matching. But yesterday, as the Maharashtra government said these are genuine accounts, we have cleared the payment to these accounts.”

According to Agrawal, around 2 lakh applications with discrepancies have been detected across States. “We are looking into each of these cases,” he said, adding that each account goes through a 3-stage verification process.

Prashant Patil, Resident District Collector of Ahmednagar, said: “We are looking into the matter and speaking to bank authorities. I am not sure why this happened, but we are busy finding out the reasons. All farmers eligible under the scheme will get the benefit.”

According to some talathis (government officials at village level), the money was withdrawn from some accounts after it was found that some farmers with land in two places had filled two forms using the same Aadhaar card. However, they are not sure if this is the reason for withdrawal in all cases.

“I don’t have land in two places, neither have I filled two forms. So, why was my money withdrawn?” asks Lahamage.

A senior State official, requesting anonymity, said: “I was part of the process where we collected forms from farmers for the scheme. I’m not sure why this is happening. We have not been able to ascertain the reason.”

Shetkari Sanghatana’s Ghanvat said the government must clarify what has happened. “There is no official word on this mess and farmers are agitated,” he said.

About 80 per cent of the State’s farmers are eligible for the scheme. Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Chandrakant Patil recently stated that the estimated number of beneficiaries in the State is around 1.20 crore.

With inputs from our Delhi bureau