New Delhi: The Centre on Monday asked the States for faster implementation of the Rs 87,000 crore PM-KISAN scheme to boost farmers' income and urged them to send the list of beneficiaries at the earliest.
The Centre has recently launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme under which it will provide Rs 6,000 annually to 14.5 crore farmers in three equal installments.
Addressing State Agriculture Ministers' conference here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said,"we have launched PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 87,000 crore will go to farmers' pocket".
"It is the States' responsibility to ensure that the benefit under this scheme reaches to all eligible farmers. Fund has been kept in the budget and is ready to be transferred into farmers' bank account," he said, emphasising on the need of faster implementation of this programme.
Till July 5, as many as 3.56 crore farmers have got the first installment, totalling Rs 7,120 crore and 3.10 crore farmers have received the second installment totalling Rs 6,215 crore, a senior agriculture ministry official said in a presentation.
The official asked states to send beneficiary data before July-end so that farmers do not miss their April-July installment of Rs 2,000.
West Bengal has not joined this scheme so far, the official said, adding that only 43 per cent beneficiaries have come so far. Bihar has only given data of 8.38 lakh farmers out of estimated 1.63 crore eligible beneficiaries.
Earlier, Tomar said the country has become self sufficient in foodgrain production because of efforts of farmers, scientists and the government.
However, he said agriculture is currently facing many challenges and farmers do not want their next generation to work in this sector.
The minister said that the Centre is focusing on the farm sector and is trying to ensure that farmers get respect as well as financial and technical supports so that farming becomes a profitable business.
He highlighted that the Centre has taken a number of steps in last five years to boost farmers' income such as fixing of the minimum support price (MSP) at 1.5 times of the production cost and improved crop insurance scheme, among others.
"If states also start worrying about farmers, then we will be in a position to help them in improving income," he added.
Tomar said there is a need to reduce input cost of farmers, eliminate market intermediaries, strengthen e-NAM (electronic national agriculture market) and promote farm exports to achieve the target of doubling farmers' income by 2022.
The minister also spoke about water shortage in the country and said farmers have a major role to play in water conservation.
Excessive use of water is also not good for crops, he said, and asked States to create awareness about this among farmers.
Farmers should be encouraged to use sprinklers for irrigation purposes, Tomar said.
Citing Haryana, which has taken steps to encourage farmers to grow maize instead of rice, the minister asked other States to take similar measures.
Apart from PM-KISAN, Tomar asked States for better implementation of other schemes such as soil health card, kisan credit card, crop insurance and organic farming.