KOCHI: The Union finance ministry has handed the Kerala agriculture department a daunting task: Recover Rs 31.05 crore accessed by 30,416 “ineligible” beneficiaries in the state under the PM-Kisan Scheme, and that too at the earliest.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, income tax payees and others such as farmer families holding constitutional posts, serving or retired officers and employees of state or Central government as well as those working in public sector undertakings and autonomous government bodies are ineligible to access the funds.
Those earning a monthly pension of over Rs 10,000 are also ineligible for the PM-Kisan scheme. As per the scheme, the Centre transfers Rs 6,000 to the farmers in three instalments every year. In a letter to the convener of the State Level Bankers Conference (SLBC), the state agriculture director said: “The Central government insists that the fund provided to the ineligible and income tax payees should be recovered in full and should be refunded to PM-Kisan.”
As per the list submitted by the state agriculture director, Rs 18.8 crore have to be recovered from 21,018 income tax payees. There are also 9,398 other ineligible persons, who received Rs 12.24 crore. PM-Kisan assistance has completed three years in Kerala. Currently, there are 37.2 lakh registered beneficiaries in Kerala.
“For the past three years, the scheme has actually transferred Rs 5,600 crore to the registered beneficiaries to their bank accounts directly,” the agriculture director said, adding that 30,416 ineligible persons were identified after “continuous combing of the database” by the state and Central government.
The union finance ministry, in a letter in April, asked SLBC to comply with the instructions in the standard operating procedure and “help in the realisation of the funds transferred to ineligible beneficiaries” .
The agriculture director said the government was receiving refunds, but the process was slow. To speed up the process, the Centre asked the banks to directly refund the money from the accounts of the ineligible.