On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved the relaxation of the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar Seeded data as a pre-condition to receive funds as a part of the Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme to 30 November 2019. This means that Aadhaar is not mandatory to receive the third installment of benefits under the scheme.
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, that was started earlier this year, the central government provides income support of Rs 6,000 per year to families holding land up to 2 hectares, subject to certain exclusions. The amount is released in three 4-monthly installments of Rs 2,000 each directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) mode.
It was earlier announced that the third installment (for August to November period), would only be credited to those who have linked their Aadhaar, that is if their Aadhaar is seeded with their database.
"However, it has not been possible to get 100% Aadhaar seeding for release of funds as per the prescribed time schedule before release of instalments after 1st August, 2019," the Cabinet's official statement said.
"Since the farmers are still gearing up for Rabi season, they are in dire need of money to take care of various farming activities like procurement of seeds, preparation of soil and other associated activities like irrigation, maintenance and mobilization of machinery and tools. Over and above these pressing needs, the just started festive season will put further stress on the financial condition of the poor farmers' households in the country. Non-seeding of beneficiaries' details with Aadhaar number will delay the release of further instalments and will cause discontentment among the farmers. Therefore, the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding for release of benefits after 1st August, 2019 has been relaxed till 30th November, 2019," it further said.
Beneficiaries of the scheme had received the first (December 2018-March 2019) and second installment (April-July 2019) even without having seeded their Aadhaar in the government's database.
As for farmers in the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu &Kashmir, where there has not been enough Aadhaar penetration, have been exempted from this requirement till 31 March 2020.