Updating land records: Centre to use states' data for PM-Kisan scheme

The central government, as long as land records are not updated, might rely on states’ database relating to small and marginal farmers to release the first tranche of Rs 2,000 income support in the form of seed subsidy under PM-KISAN, senior officials have said.

In Punjab, where less than 95 per cent of land records have been computerised till December 2018, the database prepared by the state for its loan waiver scheme will be used to identify beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), according to officials.

In Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the database prepared by the states for their respective income transfer schemes and loan waiver programmes could be used by the Centre.

In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan too, states have their database of small farmers for various schemes, which the Centre seeks. 

The Centre has sought an action plan from some states by February 7 in implementing the scheme, including the beneficiary list.

“Based on the feedback and enquiries and information we have so received far, our estimate is that the first instalment under PM KISAN could start flowing to some farmers in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat by end February or early March,” the official said.

He said states where land records were not updated or digitised satisfactorily were being asked to furnish whatever database they had of small and marginal farmers for transferring income support.

“We plan to transfer income support within 48 hours of receiving the beneficiary list from a state government,” the official explained.

In the case of Uttar Pradesh, which according to the 2015-16 Agriculture Land Census has by far the largest number of small and marginal farmers owning less than two hectares and which could be politically crucial for the ruling BJP, the Centre is likely to rely on a database of farmers prepared by the Samajwadi Party government (2007-12) for its scheme on direct benefit transfer in seed subsidy, called ‘Pardarshi Kisan Seva Yojana’. 

In a much modified and expanded version it is also being used by the current Yogi Adityanath government for its loan waiver and grain procurement programmes.

That database, according to senior officials, contains details of names, identity proof, land particulars and bank accounts. 

The Centre is also expected to utilise a database of small farmers maintained by the Ministry of Rural Development for its uplift programmes.

According to the website of the Union government’s Department of Land Resources, over 95 per cent digitisation of land records is complete in 15 states and UTs of the 36 till December last year, while in 17 states and UTs less than 95 per cent of the work is complete.

In four states, mostly in the Northeast, the process has not started. Land there is owned by communities and are not maintained by the state governments.

As regards computerising land registrations, the data showed of the 36 states and UTs, over 95 per cent work has been completed in 19 states and UTs, while it is less than 95 per cent in 12 states, including Uttar Pradesh, till December last year.

The government on Tuesday sought Parliament's approval for gross additional expenditure of Rs 1.98 trillion for the current fiscal year as the third batch of supplementary demands for grants, which included Rs 19,481 crore for the Ministry of Agriculture, mainly to operationalise PM-KISAN. 

Annual expenditure on the scheme is expected to be around Rs 75,000 crore, of which Rs 20,000 crore will be spent in 2018-19 itself.

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