Farmers await PM Jan Dhan Yojana subsidies for eight years

Agriculture National Top Story

Though farmers applied for subsidies under the eight-year old scheme, they have not received it.

Karnataka farmers who opened their accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana are not getting subsidies as promised under the scheme.

Rajanna, a farmer from Doddabelavangla Hobli, Doddaballapura, Bangalore Rural said, “I opened my account under PM Jan Dhan Yojana in 2017. The government promised us that we will receive regular subsidies directly transferred to our accounts, but nothing has happened so far.” He added that whenever he visits the bank to check if the subsidy has been credited to his account, the status of the passbook remains the same.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was launched in 2015. It was meant to be the national mission for financial inclusion. Under the scheme farmers are promised to get regular subsidy. However, farmers are not receiving any subsidy from the Government. Data presented by the Ministry of Agriculture show that till now 11.54 crore farmers got subsidies under the scheme across the country.

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Mariyappa, a farmer from Doddabelavangla Hobli, Doddaballapura, Bangalore Rural, said, “When my account was opened under the scheme, I was very happy because I thought we would get direct help in the form of subsidy from the government. However, nothing has changed, I only got the subsidy once before COVID-19, and  after that I did not receive anything. He said that he has to buy urea on his own without getting help from the government and if the return on crops is not good, he has to bear the twin burden of repaying the amount he has taken to buy urea from moneylenders and loss on crops.

Sunil S Kurtkoti, Advisor, Financial Inclusion, Department of Finance, Karnataka said that they have achieved 100 percent coverage in Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural. He said that the first step of financial inclusion, which is encouraging farmers to open their accounts, has been done. Now, the government is moving towards direct benefit transfer. PM Jan Dhan Yojana has other objectives to achieve and the government cannot focus on everything simultaneously.

Nagesh, a farmer from Thubugare Hobli, Doddaballapura, Bangalore Rural said, “I opened my account under PM Jan Dhan Yojana in 2019 just to get subsidy so that I can buy fertilizers and manure easily, but nothing has happened and my position is the same as it was before opening the account. I have to borrow money from my friends and cousins.” He said that the scheme has been around for eight years and yet, the government says it will take time and that there is no point in opening an account under this scheme.

Nagratnamma, a farmer from Madhure Hobli, Doddaballapura, Bangalore Rural said, Subsidy and all are only for big farmers who have more than five acres of land. Small and marginal farmers hardly get anything.”

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F Balakrishnana, a farmer from Devanahalli Taluk, Bangalore Rural, said, “Since, I was part of the first few beneficiaries, I have been receiving the subsidy regularly. But, the people under the next few groups have not been receiving subsidy regularly.”

K.B. Prakash, IAS, Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture said, “Government is trying its best to implement the policy, but some things take time. It is also  that, the policies which are good on paper, may not necessarily be good when put to practice,, which is one of the reasons behind farmers not getting subsidies.” He also said that due to COVID-19, it has become more difficult to give subsidies to farmers under the scheme, because the government is already spending a lot, leading to a huge fiscal deficit.

Mumtaz, another farmer from Doddabelavangla, Doddaballapura, Bangalore Rural said, “Government has only made promises but not fulfilled them. We have to face problems from sowing to harvesting. There was no point in opening my account under the scheme because every now and then, I have to visit the bank to check whether the subsidy has come or not.”

S.R Keshva, Professor of Economics, Bangalore University said, “Direct Benefit Transfer of subsidy is the need of the hour. Farmers have to be unshackled from the clutches of moneylenders.” He also said that presently, India lacks the infrastructure for Direct Benefit Transfer and there is no assurance on part of the government that the money will definitely be credited to farmers’ accounts. However, such things are not happening at the ground level, hence the government must work towards properly implementing the scheme.