The idea behind launching of app for the centrally-sponsored scheme—the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi or PM-Kisan—for farmers is to cut out middlemen. In a first for any such centrally-sponsored scheme, the government recently rolled out a face authentication feature in the PM Kisan app.
Thousands of farmers present in Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country, as well as officers of the central and state governments and representatives of various government agencies and agricultural organizations were virtually connected to the app launch event held at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi.
The app aims to resolve difficulties related to Aadhaar verification and updating bank account details on the PM Kisan portal through effective use of digital public goods. The app also enables farmers to assist up to 100 other farmers in completing their e-KYC from home.
The government has extended the e-KYC ability to state government officers, enabling them to complete the process for up to 500 farmers. The department has also collaborated with India Post Payment Bank to open Aadhaar-linked bank accounts for beneficiaries and urged common service centres to organise village-level e-KYC camps with the help of states and Union territories.
However, during the e-KYC exercise, officials found many instances when farmers’ mobile numbers were not linked to Aadhaar due to which the process could not be completed. In the case of biometrics, several elderly farmers faced problems going to the nearby centre. Also, many faced the issue of non-matching of fingerprints.
Therefore, to ease the e-KYC process, the ministry decided to introduce the face authentication feature in the PM-Kisan mobile app. The face authentication feature uses iris data of a person having an Aadhaar number. The Aadhaar iris data is available with the Unique Identification Authority of India.
Further, the PM-Kisan scheme is also integrating with Bhashini to provide farmers information in their native languages. Bhashini is the government’s national public digital platform for languages to develop services and products for citizens by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
The PM-Kisan is an innovative scheme which makes it possible to provide benefits offered by the central government to farmers without any middlemen. Today, it has become possible to give benefits to such a large number of farmers only with the help of technology. No one can question the implementation of this scheme which is a very important achievement.
The scheme is one of the world’s largest direct benefit transfer schemes, where farmers receive Rs 6,000 annually directly into their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts in three instalments. Over 110 million farmers, including more than 30 million women, have received a total of Rs 2.42 trillion through the scheme.
The PM Kisan mobile app is available for download on the Google Play Store. It provides important information about the scheme and PM Kisan accounts, including land seeding status, Aadhaar linking with bank accounts, and e-KYC using the no-user status module.
The scheme has cost Rs 75,000 crore per annum and came into effect in December 2018. It was first conceived and implemented by the government of Telangana as the Rythu Bandhu scheme, where a certain amount is given directly to eligible farmers. The scheme has received accolades from various organisations for its successful implementation, including the World Bank. Many economists suggest that this type of investment support is better than farm loan waivers. With the positive outcome of this scheme, the government of India wanted to implement it as a nationwide project and it was announced by Piyush Goyal during the 2019 Interim Union Budget on February 1, 2019.
For 2018-2019, Rs 20,000 crore was allocated under the scheme. On February 24, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the scheme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, by transferring the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to over one crore farmers.
The scheme is open to all small and marginal farmers who own less than two hectares (4.9 acres) of land. To be eligible, farmers must have a valid Aadhaar number and bank account. They must also self-declare that they do not own more than two hectares of land.
Agriculture constitutes a crucial part of India’s economy and farmers are one of the key sections of society. However, due to socio-economic disparities prevalent between urban and rural regions in the country, farming communities have often struggled with financial prosperity. This issue has plagued the more significant part of India’s population since Independence.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR PM-KISAN SCHEME?
- Landholding farmers’ families with cultivable landholding in their names.
- Farmers from both urban and rural areas.
- Small and marginal farmers’ families.
WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE SCHEME?
- Institutional landholders.
- Present or retired officers and employees of state/central government as well as PSUs and government autonomous bodies.
- Beneficiaries with higher economic status.
- Those who pay income tax.
- Farmer families holding constitutional posts.
- Professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers.
- Retired pensioners with a monthly pension of over Rs 10,000.
—By Adarsh Kumar and India Legal Bureau