During pandemic, only 20 per cent of farmers under PM-Kisan had access to formal credit -Ashlin Mathew
Of 10.5 crore farmers covered under PM-Kisan, only 2.18 crore farmers received Kisan Credit Card. This means most small, marginal and landless farmers continued to struggle throughout the pandemic
During the period of severe economic crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic, only 20 per cent of farmers under PM- Kisan have had access to formal credit. Of the 10.5 crore farmers covered under PM-Kisan, only 2.18 crore farmers have been issued the Kisan Credit Card (KCC). This means that most small, marginal and landless farmers have continued to struggle throughout the pandemic.
The PM Kisan database only includes landowning farmers, leaving out landless farmers, tenant farmers and sharecroppers. Though KCC is supposed to be extended to livestock farmers and fishermen, it is not immediately clear if they were provided with a KCC.
According to a response given by Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra S Tomar to a question by Congress MP Vincent Pala, banks have issued KCC for 2.18 crore eligible farmers and 2.5 crore farmers will be covered in due course. “During Covid period, Rs 84,600 crore was paid to 10.52 crore beneficiaries under the PM-Kisan scheme,” said the Minister in the response.
“Under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ campaign government has set a target of issuing additional 2.5 crore KCCs by the end of year, as an important step in achieving this goal. This will ensure availability of cheap credit to farmers in the time of crisis and injection of nearly 2 lakh crore in rural economy,” added the minister to the question on the state-wise number of farmers left without any help from the government, without giving corresponding figures.
Much before the Covid-19 triggered lockdown, rural and agrarian distress was on the rise. The pandemic only exacerbated it. Most farmers faced an extremely challenging and uncertain sowing season and have had to rely on informal credit systems.
“Lack of access to formal credit, even in normal times, will force the farmers to borrow from informal sources at a higher interest burden. It increases costs and as a result reduces net returns. All these can further add to their distress, which is further amplified during a pandemic,” said Srijit Mishra, professor at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.
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National Herald, 26 July, 2021, https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/during-pandemic-only-20-per-cent-of-farmers-under-pm-kisan-had-access-to-formal-credit