The Assam government has informed the Gauhati High Court that a total of 12 lakh ineligible farmers in the state have received benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
The court was hearing a plea filed by NGO Amguri Naba Nirman Samity. The division bench comprising justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia asked the state government to file a close status report on the case.
Nearly 12 lakh ineligible farmers received benefits under the ambitious scheme in Assam, the government has informed the HC indicating an enormous scam within the farmer flagship program.
“The state has filed an affidavit wherein it’s verified that over eleven lakh persons are wrongly given the good thing about the aforesaid scheme,” the HC order given on Tuesday said. An affidavit, filed by the joint secretary to the department of agriculture Gunajeet Kashyap, stated that a government probe conducted by the chief secretary Jishnu Barua in 2020 had found that 11.72 lakh deprived people had received benefits under the PM-KISAN scheme.
The bench said the Assam advocate general has made a press release that the problem raised within the PIL is genuine. The efforts of the regime are already underway for inquiry and recovery of cash from the persons who are wrongly given the advantage of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme,” it added.
The Assam government also informed the HC that proceedings are initiated against officers who were found to be involved in this scam and FIRs are filed against some.
“Let a close report and up-to-date status report be filed by the state within the style of an affidavit before this court within six weeks,” the HC said in its order. It has been fixed on April 5 for the following hearing of the case.
Under the PM-KISAN scheme, launched in 2019, a financial amount of about Rs 6,000 annually is provided to eligible farmer families payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000. The fund is transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. On August 4 last year, Assam agriculture minister Atul Bora had told the Assembly that a total of 23,33,864 farmers across the state received benefits under the PM-KISAN scheme.
Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had informed the Parliament on July 20 last year that the Centre is yet to recover Rs 2,992.75 crore as of July 15, 2021, from 42.16 lakh ineligible beneficiary farmers registered for the PM-KISAN scheme with the very best amount to be recovered from Assam. “Out of the total amount, the Rs 554.01 crore must be recovered from 8.35 lakh deprived farmers in Assam,” Tomar had said.