New Delhi: The newly constituted government on Friday held its first cabinet meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In one of the major decisions, the government decided to extend PM-KISAN scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers, costing Rs 87,000 crore a year, and also announced over Rs 10,000 crore pension scheme for 5 crore farmers, thereby fulfilling the BJP’s poll promise.

Announcing the two key decisions, new Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Modi 2.0 government has announced the landmark decisions for the farming community in the first Cabinet meeting.

“The Union Cabinet has approved to extend the ambit of the scheme by including all land holding eligible farmer families under the scheme, subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria,” Tomar told reporters after the meeting.

The Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Siddhi (PMKSS) was announced in the interim Budget under which the government decided to provide Rs 6,000 per year (in three equal instalments) to an estimated 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares.

“Now, the revised scheme envisages to cover around 2 crores more farmers increasing the coverage of the PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries,” the minister said.

He said total burden on the exchequer will increase by Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 87,217.50 crore for the year 2019-20.

So far, the first instalment has been given to only 3.11 crore beneficiaries and second to 2.66 crore beneficiaries, as many states did not provide the data of eligible farmers, Tomar said. (Also Read: She Shattered Glass Ceiling: Mufti Congratulates 1st Full-time Woman Finance Minister Sitharaman)

‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’

PM Narendra Modi, first decision after assuming office was to hike the rates of scholarship from Rs 2000 per month to Rs 2500 per month for boys and from Rs 2250 per month to Rs 3000 per month for girls under the National Defence Fund (NDF).

Approving the major change, Prime Minister’s new Cabinet also extended the ambit of the ‘Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme’ to the wards of State Police officials who are/were martyred during terror/Naxal attacks.

The quota of new scholarships for wards of state police officials will be 500 in a year. The Ministry of Home Affairs will be the nodal Ministry in this regard.

Cabinet okays pension for traders

The Cabinet also cleared the pension scheme for traders under which all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured of a minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years.

Meanwhile, Cabinet clears special scheme for Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis. The diseases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis are very common amongst the livestock – cow-bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs etc.

The BJP had promised these measures in its election manifesto.

“Glad that path-breaking decisions were taken in the cabinet, the first in this tenure. Hardworking farmers and industrious traders will benefit greatly due to these decisions,” Modi tweeted after the meeting of the cabinet.

He said the decisions will enhance the dignity and empowerment of several Indians. “People first, people always,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, in his first day in office on Friday, the prime minister offered floral tribute to the idols of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhai Patel in his South Block Office. He also posted a short video.

(With agency inputs)