Agriculture World

PM-Kisan Scam Update: Many Senior Agriculture Department Officials Suspended, 18 Arrested; Investigation Ongoing

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
money india

Government of Tamil Nadu has exposed a scam amounting to over Rs 110 crore under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. It has been reported that money was withdrawn fraudulently online with the help of government officials as well as local-level politicians. Preliminary estimates show approximately 5 lakh people may have benefited as advantage was taken of clearance rules being relaxed after the Coronavirus lockdown started.

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary said they first noticed the remarkably high number of beneficiaries being added to PM-Kisan scheme in August, especially from 13 districts. Bedi said while 18 people who were agents/brokers have been detained, 80-odd officials connected with agricultural schemes have been dismissed & 34 officials suspended. It is important to mention that the suspended officials include 3 assistant directors of Agriculture Department.

Out of the Rs 110 cr-plus siphoned off, Rs 32 crore has been recovered, mainly from bank accounts directly. The government said that they will soon recover the remaining amount too most probably in 40 days.

Many farmers who were added in the list of beneficiaries illegally were reportedly not aware of the scam, with men posing as officers asking them for their details so that they can receive “Corona cash” from the government.

The officials said the modus operandi was very clear. Under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, Centre gives Rs 6,000 annually to a member of a landholding family, in 3 installments. Since March, this has been cleared on the basis of entry of details like names, size of plots, bank & Aadhaar details of beneficiaries on a government website, with district authorities approving the same using a login & password. The officers involved in the fraud allegedly shared the login as well as password details with the brokers. In this way the latter earned up to Rs 2,000 / beneficiary. Since March, 2 installments have been paid to farmers under PM-Kisan yojana

Bedi told alarm was raised when there was a sudden hike in PM-Kisan beneficiaries, started last year, from 39 lakh in March to 45 lakh by August.

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