1. Farm Mechanization

Big Agri Machinery Fraud Revealed! Beneficiaries Got Rs. 35 Crore Subsidy Several Times in 2018

To reduce stubble burning, the Government of India provided farmers with an Rs. 1,178 crores subsidy over the course of four years (2018-19 to 2021-22) to purchase agricultural residue management machinery.

Kritika Madhukar
The problem was highlighted again in November of last year, when a three-member investigation team led by the current Agriculture Secretary
The problem was highlighted again in November of last year, when a three-member investigation team led by the current Agriculture Secretary

An investigation carried out by the government into the Rs. 1,178-crores farm machinery fraud in 2018-19 found that Rs. 35 crores in subsidies were transferred to beneficiaries' accounts numerous times in a year.

Despite being aware of the misappropriation of money, Agriculture Department personnel gave the Government of India the utilization certificate for the whole subsidy amount.

To combat stubble burning, the Government of India gave farmers an Rs. 1,178 crores subsidy over four years (2018-19 to 2021-22) to purchase agricultural residue management machinery. 

However, many of these banks remained on paper, and the subsidy funds were embezzled by officials.

According to documents obtained by a news source, the then-Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture, had a detailed investigation into the alleged scam conducted by a chartered accountant and discovered that "the subsidy that appears to have been given to the same beneficiaries multiple times is around Rs. 35 crores."

He requested a comprehensive inquiry to determine how the duplicate subsidy was awarded to the same individuals and who was responsible.

The report also said that the utilization certificate for the whole subsidy had been given to the Government of India at the same time. "Please review each item and provide a report within 15 days to ensure that any duplicate subsidy granted to any recipient is fully recovered." 

In addition, accountability must be assigned and appropriate disciplinary action should be taken," the report stated.

However, no action was taken by the department. The problem was highlighted again in November of last year, when a three-member investigation team led by the current Agriculture Secretary, Dilraj Singh Sandha, noted the lack of action on the probe report for 2018-19.

Aside from that, the previous inquiry report discovered that no adequate record of the plan was kept. Moreover, despite receiving such a large subsidy, no monitoring of the apparatus was done to determine if it helped to reduce stubble burning or not.

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