04 August, 2021

Harvestors In Gravy

Tamil Nadu officials loot money meant for small farmers under the PM Kisan scheme

Harvestors In Gravy

Tamil Nadu’s bureaucracy is infamous for its endemic corruption. But what unfolded during August set new benchmarks for looting public money—funds  meant for small/marginal farmers through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s well-inten­ded PM Kisan Scheme.

Taking opportunity of the pandemic, when physical verification of beneficiaries was not possible, state agricultural department officials enrolled over five lakh fake beneficiaries—mostly non-­farmers—and deposited Rs 2,000 each in their bank accounts. The money was shared amongst the officials, contracted data entry operators, owners of internet centres and unsuspecting villagers.

The modus operandi went like this: contract staff of the Agriculture Technology Management Agency and corrupt state officials form a syndicate and use the login and password of block level officials to enrol ineligible beneficiaries with the help of internet cafe owners. Many ineligible villagers, tempted into it by SHG members and local politicians, shared their Aadhaar and bank account details...

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