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India’s Seamless e-KYC Process for Farmers

Image credit: KailashBatyu; Twitter
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Under the flagship programme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, has announced the integration of a face authentication feature on the Prime Minister (PM)-Kisan mobile application.

A press release said that the app will enable farmers to conveniently complete their e-KYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) process remotely, eliminating the need for OTPs or fingerprint authentication. By simply scanning their face, farmers can securely authenticate their identity and complete the e-KYC process.

Furthermore, in response to the growing importance of e-KYC, the government has extended the ability of farmers to perform e-KYC to officers of state governments. This initiative enables each officer to complete the e-KYC process for up to 500 farmers.

The app is user-friendly and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. It provides information regarding the PM Kisan scheme. Through the No User Status Module, farmers can access details such as land seeding, Aadhaar linkage with bank accounts, and e-KYC status. To facilitate the process, the Department has partnered with India Post Payment Bank (IPPB) to enable the doorstep opening of Aadhaar-linked bank accounts for beneficiaries. Additionally, Common Service Centers (CSCs) have been instructed to organise village-level e-KYC camps in collaboration with states/union territories.

Thousands of farmers in Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country, officers of the central and state governments, and representatives of government agencies and agricultural organisations were virtually connected to an inaugural event held in New Delhi.

During the event, Tomar acknowledged the significant efforts made by state governments in the diligent implementation of the PM Kisan scheme. This comprehensive and ambitious scheme has enabled the government to pay the installment of the scheme about 85 million farmers after KYC. He emphasised the importance of a well-refined platform, which plays a crucial role in the delivery of the scheme. The availability of complete and accurate data with both central and state governments ensures seamless data verification.

Tomar said that the PM Kisan scheme, which directly benefits farmers without intermediaries, is an achievement facilitated by technology. According to the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Kailash Choudhary, the agriculture sector is benefiting from technology and the new facility of this app will provide a lot of convenience to the farmers. On the occasion, officials shared experiences with the scheme and mobile application. Efforts will also be made to connect more farmers with the app through the youth. Furthermore, based on predetermined criteria, certificates will be given by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare to young individuals who help spread awareness about the application.

PM Kisan is one of the world’s largest DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) schemes where farmers receive INR 6,000 (US$73) directly transferred through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts in three installments in a year. INR 2.42 trillion (US$ 25.9 billion) has been transferred to the accounts of more than 110 million farmers, of whom more than 30 million were women.

Moreover, the challenges about Aadhaar verification and updating bank account details on the PM-Kisan Portal have been successfully resolved through the efficient utilisation of digital public goods. A significant milestone was achieved as over 81 million farmers received the 13th installment of PM Kisan directly into their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts through Aadhaar-enabled payments. Ongoing efforts are being made in various states to reach a state of saturation. Once these efforts are completed, a maximum number of eligible farmers will be able to receive the 14th installment of the scheme.

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