If bankers were to be believed, the rollout of the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme — which was announced in the Union Budget 2019-20 — by the end of this month may not be all that smooth.
Going by the guidelines issued by the Centre to the States on identifying the beneficiaries, the implementation of the scheme calls for complete coordination of State agricultural departments with that of the Centre and the banks.
The first phase of the scheme should begin from February 26 to be completed by March-end.
“This will require a huge effort, and we are not entirely sure if this can be done in such a speedy manner,” a top executive with a Maharashtra-based public sector bank told BusinessLine . As per the guidelines, a CEO from the Union Ministry of Agriculture will have to supervise the implementation and uploading of details of eligible farmers on the PM Kisan portal. “The role of banks will only come after this. We are concerned over digitisation of land records and integration of farmers’ accounts with Aadhaar, which is a must for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT),” the official said.
Farmers who wish to avail themselves of the benefits under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme must have an Aadhaar card to get cash from the second instalment, which would be paid by July 2019.
However, this is not compulsory for the first instalment, which is expected to be disbursed by March 31 before the Lok Sabha polls. But authenticating DBT without Aadhaar will be a challenge. Bankers are concerned over the last-minute rush as they need to update disbursal details on a daily basis while checking the integration of land details as well as Aadhaar and eligibility.
This is a tough task at the end of the financial year, feel banks.
However, State Bank of India, which has done a similar exercise in Telangana, is more confident.
“I feel that the scheme is eminently doable. But it presupposes digitisation of land records across the States. If that is done, it can be implemented,” said J Swaminathan, Chief General Manager, SBI, Hyderabad circle.
“We handled a much more difficult task of disbursing cheques in the State. If there is digitisation support, the DBT will be easier,” he added.
Cooperation from States
There are also concerns over ‘non-cooperation’ from some State governments due to differences with the Centre. The Centre has already stated that the States would have to execute the lion’s share of work, especially since the first transfer is due in less than two months.