Vol. XLIII No. 08 February 24, 2019

Farcical Implementation of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi

THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on February 18,  had pointed out that the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi was only aimed at creating an illusion of a farmer-friendly government while vast majority of the peasantry, especially landless and tenant farmers were excluded from the scheme and the amount per peasant was pittance. The scheme announced in the wake of consistent protests by the peasantry as well as electoral defeats in the aftermath of these struggles also has been done by setting aside the earlier promise of assured minimum support prices of at least 50 per cent more than the cost of production. The peasantry will not tolerate the repeated humiliation heaped by the BJP government and the prime minister Narendra Modi.

 The BJP government led by Narendra Modi has now exposed itself by trying to implement the scheme in the most callous and farcical manner. It has issued an order that the application for the first installment must be made by February 20, 2019. However, the order was received only on February 16 in most states and intervening period also was a Sunday. There are over 12 crore households holding two hectares or below and to reach this section within this period is an absurd proposition. Clearly, the undue haste is to create false hope before the elections and try to reap electoral benefits. In the process the scheme which already excludes vast majority of the peasantry is also denying those who technically will fall within the ambit of the scheme. The Rs 6,000 per year announced for farmers holding up to two hectares under the scheme amounts to only Rs 500 per month or about Rs 17 per day. That is also being denied by the deadline announced.

AIKS demands that the date for the same be extended and landless peasantry as well as tenant farmers also must be included within the ambit of the scheme. Adequate time should be provided so that village and block level camps can be organised to enroll all eligible farmers and ensure that it is not denied to the poorest sections of the peasantry. In states that do not have computerised land records, challenges to ensure benefits reach the intended are even more. Panchayats must also be involved to identify tenant farmers and extend the scheme to them.  AIKS had also pointed out how Kerala under the Left Democratic Front government procures paddy at Rs 800 per quintal more than the centrally fixed MSP and a panchayat in the state pays Rs 17,000 per hectare as an incentive for paddy cultivation.

The BJP government should stop betrayal of the promise to peasantry on MSP and expand the scheme to increase the amount and reach all peasants. AIKS will carry forward the struggle for ensuring these demands are met.