Today's Common Ground story is about a scam. Specifically, a Rs 3,000-crore scam that unfolded across India from February 2019 onwards, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the government’s flagship PM-Kisan farmers' welfare scheme, six weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
The scheme was intended to transfer Rs 6,000 across three installments to millions of farmers across the country. But, according to officials who worked closely with it, the rush to add beneficiaries at a breakneck speed ahead of the election led to chaos and corruption.
For Common Ground this week, Sadiq Naqvi and Snigdha Poonam tracked the scam in Assam, the state that saw the largest amount being siphoned off. They also accessed a government enquiry report, details of which have not been reported previously. It found that of 31 lakh people who had received the cash transfer, 15 lakh were ineligible.
But more than the bald numbers, it is the way the scam unfolded that is truly startling. This wasn’t merely a case of ineligible citizens grabbing government cash – rather, the corruption flowed through an intricate network that involved everyone from high-level government officials to internet cafe operators.
You can read the story here.