Day One: Big Moves for Farmers, Traders, Scholarship under National Defence Fund

RNS: In its first decision Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet enhanced the Scholarship amount under National Defence Fund, made big moves for farmers and traders.

The scholarship amounts have been increased from Rs 2000 per month to 2500 per month for boys and Rs 2250 to 3000 per months for the girls. This scholarship scheme has also been extended to the wards of state police personnel who were martyred during terror or naxal attack.

The cabinet has decided to extend the PM-KISAN scheme – which promises poor farmers an annual payout of Rs. 6,000 in three installments – to all farmers. The new move will benefit around 15 crore farmers. The Cabinet has also cleared the pension scheme for traders. Three crore retail traders and shopkeepers will benefit from the scheme.

The revised scheme envisages an estimated expenditure of Rs. 87,217.50 crore in 2019-20. The previous government had an estimated annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crore in the earlier version of the scheme.

The centre had announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme in the interim Budget 2019-20. Originally under this programme, Rs. 6,000 were to be paid to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land of up to two hectares per year in three installments, through Direct Bank Transfer.

PM-KISAN while being announced in the budget in February, was introduced – unusually – as a retrospective scheme, starting from December 1, 2018, which the government could use to argue makes it an ongoing scheme. The first installment was handed over to farmers in February.

The cabinet today also approved a new central sector scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana which is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for small and marginal farmers across the country.

“The central government will contribute to the pension fund in equal amount as contributed by the farmer,” Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar announced after the cabinet meeting.

“The scheme provides income support to small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding up to 2 hectares, across the country, by way of Rs. 6,000 per year. The ongoing scheme aims to cover around 12.5 crore SMF families,” he added.

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