Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said that the number of beneficiary farmers under the Centre’s PM-Kisan scheme has declined by 67% since the first installment was given in February 2019.

Citing data from reply to a Right to Information application, Kharge tweeted a graph that showed that the number of beneficiaries has gradually dropped from 11.84 crore to 3.87 crore by the time the 11th installment was disbursed in May.

PM-Kisan is a central government scheme under which eligible farmers are given of Rs 6,000 annually in three installments of Rs 2,000 each every four months. The funds are directly transferred to their bank accounts.

In his tweet, Kharge accused the Narendra Modi-led Union government of taking away the rights of the farmers.

“Mr Modi, whom are you benefiting by taking away the rights of the farmers?” the Congress chief asked.

The RTI reply cited by Kharge has been given by the Union agriculture ministry, reported The Hindu.

All India Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale described the data as “very shocking”.

“There is no logical reason for why such a decrease in the number of beneficiaries,” he told The Hindu. “It shows that the Centre is trying to slowly wind up this scheme. This scheme is not at all a substitute for the legally guaranteed MSP. This scheme was another jumla [empty promise] to skirt the real issues the farmers are facing.”