NEW DELHI: The agriculture ministry plans to improve the system of paying cash to farmers under the PM Kisan scheme by studying the Aadhaar-based payment mechanism of petroleum ministry’s Ujjwala scheme, which provides cash assistance up to Rs 1600 for new LPG connection and subsidy is transferred subsequently to more than 800 million Aadhaar seeded bank accounts on every refill.

“We are facing challenges in conforming Aadhaar number with beneficiaries. It has caused delay in payments. We have been asked to study the Ujjwala scheme. This scheme is a big scheme where benefits are directly transferred to Aadhaar linked bank account,” said a senior agriculture department official.

Agriculture department officials have met with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) officials to understand the Ujjwala scheme.

“Though these two schemes are entirely different, still we will study and see what we can take from that,” the official said.

The government has launched the PM KISAN Scheme, which gives direct cash benefit of Rs 6000 a year in three equal installments to farmers, in February this year with effective from December 2018. The payment of first two installments were made without considering Aadhaar seeding but for the payment due during August-November, Aadhaar seeding was mandatory.

“The speed of releasing payment had slowed down drastically during distribution for the third installment as conforming with Aadhaar seeding with such a vast database became difficult. The government had to relax the norms pertaining to compulsory Aadhaar seeding till November 30 to release the payment to due installment to registered eligible beneficiaries before Diwali and the ensuing Rabi season,” the official said.

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For the fourth installment (third for this financial year) which gets due in December, the Aadhar seeding would again come into force.

“A sound Aadhaar based payment release mechanism will be needed to cater to around 1000 million beneficiaries. We will study a couple of such models including Ujjwala where 800 million beneficiaries are already getting subsidies in their Aadhaar linked bank accounts,” the official said.

So far, three installments have been disbursed to eligible farmers since December last year. A total amount of more than Rs.30,000 crores has already been released under the scheme through the 1st installment to over 684 million beneficiaries, 2nd installment to over 543 million beneficiaries and 3rd installment to around 300 million beneficiaries.

“After the relaxation of Aadhaar norms, we would release payment of around 285 million already registered farmers besides we expect 200 million fresh registrations to happen. We will be releasing around Rs 10,000 crore more till November 30,” the official said.





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