Estd. 2006
PM-KISAN: Transforming India's Rural Economy

Dr ML Jat

THE PRADHAN MANTRI KISAN SAMMAN NIDHI (PM-KISAN) SCHEME, launched by the Government of India in February 2019, is designed to provide direct income support to farmers across the country; and has been playing a key role in enhancing agricultural productivity and ensuring financial stability for rural communities. This initiative seeks to enhance the income of farmers by providing them with direct cash transfers, thus improving their rural livelihoods.

Introduced from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, the PM-KISAN scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of landholding farmers. With an annual benefit of Rs 6,000 distributed in three equal instalments, the scheme helps farmers meet essential agricultural expenses and avoid reliance on moneylenders. This financial support has proven transformative, enabling farmers to invest in equipment, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs, thus enhancing crop yields, agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Since its inception, PM-KISAN has disbursed more than Rs 3.02 lakh crore to over 11 crore farmers, marking a significant milestone in Indian agriculture through the 16th installments under the scheme. Further, the recent 17th instalment, amounting to Rs. 20,000 crores, has strengthen the rural economy, bringing the total disbursement to over Rs. 3.24 lakh crore. The scheme’s economic Impact and reach on the rural economy has been profound. A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that PM-KISAN beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh received the full amount without leakages, significantly improving their ability to invest in agriculture. The infusion of over Rs 3.24 lakh crore into rural economies has not only boosted farmers' financial stability but also stimulated local markets and services.

PM-KISAN stands out for its effective integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for efficiency. The scheme employs a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism to ensure seamless, transparent, and timely fund disbursement directly into farmers' bank accounts. This method, facilitated by the integration with Aadhaar, the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), minimizes the risk of fraud and ensures that benefits reach the intended recipients. The PM-KISAN portal, launched exclusively for this scheme, integrates various data points to validate beneficiaries, ensuring eligible farmers to receive benefits. Additionally, Aadhaar authentication has become mandatory, further enhancing transparency and efficiency.

To aid beneficiaries, the PM-KISAN scheme includes several innovative support initiatives. The dedicated web portal, mobile application and SMS alerts allow farmers to track their status, complete e-KYC, and address grievances. The “Know Your Status” (KYS) module provides farmers with a comprehensive overview of their registration and benefit status at a single click. This has empowered farmers with real-time information and reduced their dependency on intermediaries.

Furthermore, the introduction of the Kisan e-Mitra, an AI-powered chatbot, has revolutionized support for farmers, offering real-time assistance in 11 languages. This service, coupled with the onboarding of over 5 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) and the Indian Post Payments Bank (IPPB), brings scheme-related services to farmers' doorsteps, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility.

Way forward

The Government of India continues to refine and expand the PM-KISAN scheme. As part of the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, a nationwide campaign aims to include all eligible farmers, with over 1 crore additional farmers already benefiting. Continuous feedback through the Kisan Call Centre and field surveys ensures that the scheme evolves to meet the needs of its beneficiaries effectively. The scheme's robust grievance redressal mechanism, with a resolution rate nearing 99%, reflects its commitment to addressing farmer issues promptly. Village-level nodal officers are providing on-the-ground support, further enhancing the scheme's reach and effectiveness.

As PM-KISAN enters its next phase, the focus remains on ensuring every eligible farmer benefits from the scheme. With its blend of financial support, technological integration, and continuous innovation, PM-KISAN is all set to remain a key foundation of India's agricultural and rural development strategy, promoting a self-reliant and prosperous farming community. Linking PM-KISAN with the Government of India’s Initiatives on Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) with use of Artificial Intelligence will further strengthen the delivery of the scheme.

(Writer is the Director, Global Research Program on Resilient Farm and Food Systems International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad)

June 29, 2024