₹59 lakh recovered from ineligible accounts under PM-KISAN scheme

A sum of ₹59 lakh credited into the bank accounts of 2,987 ineligible beneficiaries and non-farmers under PM-Kisan scheme had been recovered in Madurai district as on Thursday, said Joint Director of Agriculture T. Vivekanandan.

It came to light recently that out of 16,474 registered beneficiaries in Madurai district under PM-Kisan scheme, 11,135 were ineligible to receive the benefit. Speaking to The Hindu, Collector T.G. Vinay said that block-level teams, comprising Assistant Directors of Agriculture, were formed to verify the ineligible accounts and recover money credited to those accounts.

Mr. Vivekanandan said the department was still working on to find out the exact amount that was credited to the bank accounts of ineligible persons. “Two instalments had been credited in some accounts, and only one instalment was credited in others,” he said.

Under PM-Kisan scheme, eligible farmers get ₹ 6,000 per annum in three equal instalments. The money is credited to their bank accounts. Recently it was found out that in 13 districts of Tamil Nadu, around ₹110 crore was fraudulently credited to the bank account of ineligible persons.

Dr. Vinay said the issues emerged after the introduction of ‘Farmers Corner’ in the Union government’s official website, where farmers were asked to upload documents for registration under the PM-KISAN scheme.

Mr. Vivekanandan said that prior to that introduction of the online portal, farmers had to submit relevant documents in person to revenue officials for verification. “But, since February this year, the work was entrusted with the verification work,” he said.

The problems surfaced since April, during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During this period, login IDs and passwords of government officials were misused to validate applications of ineligible persons. The list of ineligible persons also included government servants and those who were non-farmers. In some cases, all family members of a farmer had been registered,” he said.

Investigations were under way to find out how staff of private computer centres had misused the password for fraudulently validating the applications. “Enquiry is also being made to find out if government officials were involved in misusing the passwords,” he added.

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