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2.3 million voluntarily sign up at PM Kisan portal, even as Mamata Banerjee stalls scheme that could benefit Bengal’s farmers by Rs 9,800 cr

Since the West Bengal government led by CM Mamata Banerjee has not yet joined the central scheme, almost 7 million potential beneficiaries in the state have been kept deprived of the benefits under the scheme.

Days after West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee urged the central government to transfer the funds under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme (PM-Kisan) to her government and not to the farmers, as many as 2.3 million West Bengal farmers have voluntarily signed up to the ambitious central scheme, which has benefited 8.45 crore farmers so far in the country, reports The Economic Times.

Since the West Bengal government led by CM Mamata Banerjee has not yet joined the central scheme, almost 7 million potential beneficiaries in the state have been kept deprived of the benefits under the scheme.

“Each farmer in West Bengal would have got Rs 14,000 so far, including the instalment being transferred tomorrow (Friday) by the Prime Minister to farmers across India, translating to nearly Rs 9,800 crore for the state’s farmers,” a central government official told ET on condition of anonymity.

“These farmers want the money, which is evident as over 2.26 million out of seven million farmers in the state have self-registered on the ‘Farmers Corner’ on the PM-KISAN portal so far. But the state has neither appointed a state nodal officer nor verified the data to enable the transfer,” said the official, adding that West Bengal is the only state in the country not to implement the scheme.

PM Narendra Modi, Friday, released Rs 18,000 crore as next instalment under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme to 80 million farmers, which, unfortunately, West Bengal’s farmers will again miss out on.

Central Govt to respond shortly to Mamata Banerjee’s letter asking for PM-Kisan funds to be transferred to the state govt

Meanwhile, Union agriculture minister NS Tomar is likely to write to Mamata Banerjee soon, in response to the CM’s letter of December 21 asking for the PM-KISAN funds to be transferred to the state government and not directly to the farmers. Tomar will be once again specifying that funds under PM-KISAN are sent directly to the bank accounts of the intended beneficiaries after their details are duly verified by the state government.

Mamata Banerjee writes to govt to disburse money under PM-Kisan scheme to her

In her letter issued on December 21, Mamata Banerjee had alleged that the West Bengal government still awaits the disbursement of funds to the state government for the onward transfer of the payments to the farmers of the state. Interestingly, the West Bengal CM has also enclosed a copy of a letter dated 9 September 2020 to allege that her government had not received the funds from the central government even after demanding for the same earlier in September.

Centre rejects Banerjee’s demand for routing the funds allocated under the scheme through the state government

In September 2020, Mamata Banerjee had written a letter to the Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, asking him to disburse the amount meant for farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme to the West Bengal government. The Centre had then rejected Mamata Banerjee’s demand of routing the money to the state government, categorically stating that the scheme is based on direct benefit transfer to farmers’ account and “routing money through the state government would be against the spirit of the scheme”.

West Bengal remains the only state which has not implemented this scheme that provides an annual support amount of Rs 6,000 to farmers in three equal instalments.

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