Shillong, Jun 8: Only 8,967 farmers of Meghalaya got financial assistance under the PM Kisan scheme, whereas 85 per cent of the state''s 35 lakh population - more than 29 lakh - are agriculturists, senior Congress MP Vincent H Pala said on Tuesday.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pala urged him to take corrective measures and provide sufficient funds to the state''s poor farmers, most of whom belong to indigenous tribal communities, so that they can sustain themselves and their families during the pandemic.
"Eighty-five (85) per cent of the 3.5 million population of Meghalaya are farmers. If only 8967 farmers have been provided financial assistance under this flagship program - PM-Kisan Scheme, by the Government of India, then, the Government of India has done a grave injustice to the farmers of this state," Pala said in his letter to the PM.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, 8,967 farmers receive Rs 1,79,34,000, the lowest among all North Eastern States, the three-time MP claimed.
Modi on May 14 released the eighth instalment of over Rs 20,000 crore to more than 9.5 crore farmer-beneficiaries across the country under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) programme. Under the PM-KISAN scheme, the government provides Rs 6,000 in three equal instalments to 14 crore farmers annually. The amount is directly transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
"According to the data available, only 8967 farmers from Meghalaya received the direct benefit transfer instalment at the rate of Rs 2000 each amounting to Rs 1,79,34,000, the lowest amongst all the North Eastern States," the Congress MP''s letter read.
Pala said that most of the farmers of Meghalaya are owners of their own agricultural land and they engage labourers to cultivate their crops.
"Most of the farmers are out of jobs and livelihood and this has adversely affected the families of the small and marginal farmers who depended solely on seasonal crops," he said.
Normally, during this season crops such as broomstick, bay leaf, black pepper, ginger, potato, cabbages and cauliflower are harvested in huge quantities in the state, Pala said.
"It is sad to state here that the state government has not made enough efforts to provide marketing facilities and linkages to sell these products," he said.
He also sought adequate funds from the central government for providing assistance to daily wage earners and labourers of the unorganised sector who are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
"It is sad to mention that the much-needed financial assistance to these group of workers have not been released nor paid by the State Government since last year," he said.