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7 lakh Bengal farmers get first installment of PM-Kisan scheme

Seven lakh farmers of West Bengal on Friday received the first installment of PM Kisan scheme, which had been a bone of contention between the Centre and state. During its campaign for the state Assembly polls, the BJP had alleged that the Trianmool Congress government was not cooperating and blocking the funds for farmers, while the latter pointed fingers at the Centre. After coming to power for the third term, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking release of funds for state farmers.

The PM on Friday released the eighth installment of over Rs 20,000 crore to over 9.5 crore farmer beneficiaries under the scheme via video-conferencing. The scheme directly provides Rs 6,000 annually to farmers in three equal installments.

On Friday, the West Bengal Home Department said in a tweet, “Due to demand and actions of CM and GOWB, 7lakh farmers of West Bengal got their due entitlement, the first instalment of Kisan Samman Nidhi today by direct transfer as per data submitted by State. State will fight for its farmers. It is clarified that West Bengal did not receive any invitation for the PM Kisan fund release programme today.”

On May 6, Banerjee had written to PM Modi requesting him to advise the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to release funds under the PM-Kisan scheme to farmers of Bengal.

Several BJP leaders, including the PM, alleged that the TMC-led state government blocked the funds for farmers in Bengal and that after winning the Assembly polls, Rs 18,000, which includes arrears, will be paid to each eligible farmer in Bengal.

Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, said the state government had already done the needful and it is the Centre, that is delaying the release of funds.

“I have written a letter to Prime minister. I hope the funds under PM Kisan scheme will be released soon. They said that Rs 18,000 will be given to the farmers. Five months back we uploaded the names of the recipients on central government portal and made all arrangements,” Banerjee had said.

“I had written earlier on 31.12.2020 to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on providing benefits of PM-Kisan (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) scheme to the farmers of the state of West Bengal… However no concrete response has yet been received from the ministry on this,” read Banerjee’s letter.

The letter informed that the state government has appointed nodal agency and nodal officer for the scheme about five months ago and opened two bank accounts.

“Out of 21.79 lakh farmers who had registered for the scheme as per letter of the union agriculture ministry dated 6th November 2020, 14.91 lakh data have been uploaded on the portal, which were duly verified and out of which 9.84 lakh data and ready for PFMS,” read the letter.

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