In the first meeting of the new Union Council of Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, the government decided to cover all the farmers, irrespective of their land holdings, under PM Kisan scheme that promises to transfer Rs 6,000 in their bank accounts.

The revised scheme envisages to cover 2 crore more farmers with an estimated expenditure of Rs 87,217.50 crore in 2019-20. The previous government had estimated annual expenditure of Rs 75,000 crore in the earlier version of the scheme.

“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the extension of PM Kisan Yojana to all farmers. Nearly 14.5 crore farmers would now benefit from the scheme,” said Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, briefing the media about cabinet decisions.

The Union Cabinet also approved a proposal to provide pension cover to crores of farmers. The Centre would spend Rs 10,774.5 crore for a period of three years on this.

A month before the Union Budget, the decision to expand the PM Kisan scheme shows government’s priority accorded to the farm sector.

Fulfilling his poll promise, the Modi government also announced a minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 for traders across the nation, which will benefit over three crore people.

The Cabinet 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.

The Union Cabinet also cleared an initiative for controlling Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis to support livestock rearing farmers.

The Cabinet has cleared a total outlay of Rs 13,343 crores to fully control these diseases amongst the livestock in the country in the next five years and subsequently eradicate these diseases.

In case of FMD, the scheme envisages vaccination coverage to 30 crore bovines (cows-bulls and buffaloes) and 20 crore sheep/goat and 1 crore pigs at six months’ interval along with primary vaccination in bovine calves.

The Brucellosis control programme shall extend to cover 100 per cent vaccination coverage of 3.6 crore female calves.

Before the meeting, the PM took the first decision of his second term by enhancing the amount to be paid as part of ‘Prime Ministers Scholarship Scheme’ under the National Defence Fund.

The rates of scholarship have been increased from Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 2,500 per month for boys and from Rs 2,250 per month to Rs 3,000 per month for girls.

The ambit of the scholarship Scheme has also been extended to the wards of state police personnel who “were martyred during terror/naxal attacks”.

The quota of new scholarships for wards of state police personnel will be 500 in a year.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal were among those who attended the meeting at the PMO in South Block.

Meanwhile, the first Parliament session of the 17th Lok Sabha will be held from 17 June till 26 July. All newly elected lawmakers will be administered the oath of office by Maneka Gandhi, who was appointed the temporary speaker on Thursday, before the Speaker’s election to be held on 19 June.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi had taken oath on Thursday along with his council of ministers after leading BJP-led NDA to a big election victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

A total of 57 leaders from BJP and NDA allies were sworn in as ministers. Ministerial berths were allocated earlier on Friday.

The BJP won 303 seats while the NDA bagged 353.

(With inputs from IANS)