Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday released over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmer families under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’ (PM-KISAN). With the push of a button, Modi enabled the transfer of money at an event which the ruling BJP has made into a mega exercise to reach out to farmers by having its leaders interact with the farming community at more than 19,000 venues across the country and also listen to the prime minister’s address. Modi released the instalment of Rs 2,000 to every farmer on the birth anniversary of former prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which is every year celebrated as “Good Governance Day” by the ruling party. Under the PM-KISAN scheme, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided to small and marginal farmers, payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The programme comes amid protests by various farmer unions against three farm laws recently enacted by the Modi government. The government has insisted that these reforms are in the interest of farmers.