Agriculture is the backbone of India’s economy.

As per the Registrar General of India and Census Report of 2011, India is home to over 118.7 million farmers or cultivators and 144.3 million agricultural laborers, which accounts\ of 31.5 percent of the total rural population.

While agriculture’s contribution to GDP has been steadily declining due to India’s broad-based economic growth, it still continues to employ the largest number of people demographically.

The welfare of farmers is an important factor in a lot of the government’s decision making.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal’s interim budget focuses big on rural and middle-class India, with a number of schemes, tax cuts and initiatives.

With the Lok Sabha elections on the horizon, the Narendra Modi government, in a bid to woo the farming population, has launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.

Costing around 75,000 crores overall, the scheme is sure to benefit many small farmers around the country.

But what exactly is this scheme about? Here’s everything you need to know:

The Details

Set to be formally launched on 24th February 2019 in Gorakhpur, the scheme will benefit 12 crore small farmers in India, who own less than 2 hectares of land.

A lot of the cost comes from procuring essential supplies in a timely manner.

According the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, farmers who fall under its purview will get ₹6,000 annually in three ₹2,000 installments. This will help farmers prepare their crop better by getting essential supplies.

“The amount will be transferred directly to bank accounts of farmers in three equal installments. The programme will be funded 100 percent by the central government.

Also, twelve crore families will benefit. The first installment will be issued soon after preparing a list,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

The first installment of eligible beneficiaries during this financial year 2018-19 will be for the period from 1st December 2018 to 31st March 2019.

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Who Benefits From It?

According to the operational guidelines of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the scheme is earmarked for “Small and Marginal landholder farmer families”, which is defined as a family comprising of husband, wife and minor children who collectively own cultivable land upto 2 hectare as per land records of the concerned State/UT”

The existing land records will be used to identify beneficiaries and calculate benefits.

Monitoring the Progress

At the central level, the government plans to set up a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU), to monitor and control the course of the program.

At the ground level, each State/Union Territory government will set up a nodal unit to run things.

State governments can also choose to amp up operations by setting up their own project monitoring units. Funding for this will be covered by the government.

According to the operational guidelines for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, 0.25% of the amount earmarked for the first installment and 0.125% for the subsequent installments can be transferred by the Government of India to the respective State/UT Government to cover the expenditure on their PMUs, if established.

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How Will it Be Implemented?

The first step in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will be to identify the beneficiaries.

This will be done by the state and union territory governments, according to the records.

For farmers to easily sign up for the benefits, the government of India has also launched an integrated online platform on which farmers can sign up.

This website is available on https://pmkisan.nic.in/. The PM-Kisan portal will be very helpful, mainly because they will be providing a centralized platform on which government officials can access the correct data.

In addition, it also acts as a credible, unified e-platform from which cash benefits can be transferred to farmers through their bank accounts.

While a lot of the data on the platform will come from existing state records, which the state and union governments will upload on the platform, farmers can also choose to sign-up themselves and provide the government with the basic information they require, such as Aadhar details, voter id Proof, bank details etc.

Having a comprehensive source of information about small scale farmers will help the government in monitoring fund transaction details across the country easily and maintain a location wise register of farmers who have already benefited from the scheme.

This will help them provide timely assistance to farmers in need.

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Impact

In addition to helping millions of small scale farmers in dire need of assistance, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme will also help the government to obtain a reliable database of information about farmers over the years, which can help them identify patterns, calculate benefits and most importantly, track the progress of the program.

With increasing globalization and the competition that comes with it, the contribution of agriculture towards India’s GDP is declining.

Hence, India’s domestic farmers, especially the small farmers who form the bulk of the demographic, need all the help they can get. At first glance, the PM-KISAN scheme seems to be taking a structured approach towards providing that help.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are that of the author and not those of Groww