KOCHI: After much delay, the e-payment system of the Agriculture Department, where all the financial benefits, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to farmers are being disbursed through bank accounts, has become fully operational.
When there was no data bank of the farmers in the state, the Agriculture Department had started collecting the details so that all the benefits they are entitled to can be directly transferred to their bank accounts. But, the farmers were reluctant to provide the details which led to the delay in implementing a project where the farmer benefits are not passed on through middlemen.
Additional director of Agriculture (extension and training) K K Chandran said that when it became mandatory that the financial assistance will be distributed only through the Electronic Clearing System (ECS), the farmers came forward to register with the department. Now all the payments are made through ECS to the banks so that there will not be any exploitation by middlemen to siphon off the benefits entitled to farmers.
Though the process for collecting data through various Krishi Bhavans started more than a year ago, it was a Herculean task for the Agriculture officials to convince the farmers on the need to register with the department. According to Chandran, now all the financial benefits are directly transferred to the accounts of the farmers. However, there were some problems that occurred during the initial stages.
“There were some complaints from a section of farmers earlier which was later rectified. Most of the complaints were due to the wrong entry of bank account number or giving the details of the account which had expired,” he explained.
e-payment System in Alappuzha
Alappuzha district, which has the largest number of farmers in the state, too, have completed the procedures of e-payment. The shying away of farmers during the earlier days had a dramatic turn when it was insisted that the payments will not come if they are not registered with the Agriculture Department. Alappuzha principal agriculture officer R Geethamani said that almost all the farmers in the district are now enlisted under the e-payment system. Now, issuing benefits to the farmers directly or through any other source have been stopped.
The registration in Alappuzha district was completed through Krishi Bhavans and Akshaya Centres. The e-payment system has been fully implemented in the district, she added.
All benefits to farmers including welfare pension, natural calamity relief fund and crop insurance benefits will be given to only those who have registered with the department. The data collected from farmers will be available only with the Agriculture Department and there is no need for any apprehension that it will be made public, she assured.
Now, the farmers need not visit Krishi Bhavan to avail the benefits. It will also help reduce the delay in distributing subsidies and other benefits, as the fund is directly transferred to the account of the farmers.