In a recent report, the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) has advocated for the revision of market restrictive policies and increased financial support for farmers in India. According to the report, ICRIER recommends enhancing the instalment limit of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme to ₹10,000 per family, up from the current annual transfer limit of ₹6,000. This proposed increase accounts for the eroding effect of inflation, making the initial ₹6,000 effectively worth ₹8,000 by 2023. The report underscores the losses faced by farmers due to restrictive marketing policies and argues that an annual sum of ₹10,000 is the minimum required to support the agricultural community adequately.
Ashok Gulati, a professor at ICRIER and one of the report’s authors, emphasized that the majority of PM-KISAN scheme beneficiaries are small landholders with holdings less than 2 hectares. He highlighted the importance of keeping the policy simple and accessible for all, stating that large farmers with significant surpluses form only a fraction of the recipients.
The PM-KISAN scheme, aimed at providing income support to land-holding farmer families, places the financial burden entirely on the government. Under the scheme, state governments identify eligible farmer families based on guidelines, and funds are directly transferred to their bank accounts.
A recent development reported substantial savings of ₹10,000 crore under the PM-KISAN scheme, attributed to the removal of ineligible beneficiaries after a comprehensive database cleanup. This revelation has sparked discussions about potentially extending the scheme to include landless farmers, like sharecroppers and tenant farmers, thereby expanding its impact.
Although these savings provide an opportunity to increase instalments, it’s important to note that there has been no official proposal from the government regarding changes to the scheme. Any such proposal is expected to originate from the agriculture ministry.
Additionally, the government is anticipated to release the 15th instalment of the PM-KISAN scheme between November and December 2023, although no official announcement has been made. The 14th instalment, disbursed on July 27, 2023, reached approximately 85 million farmer beneficiaries, pushing the total amount transferred under the scheme beyond Rs. 2.59 lakh crore.