The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed a Bill to aid tenant farmers and to recognise their rights as cultivators. Tenant farmers are those who own little or no land and take up agricultural land on lease.
The Andhra Pradesh Corp Cultivator Rights Bill, 2019, which was passed by a voice vote, seeks to provide all amenities, including banking and insurance benefits, to the tenant farmer without affecting the rights of the landowner. Tenant farmers will be issued Crop Cultivator Rights Card, which will ensure they receive all benefits prescribed in the Bill.
Moving the Bill, Deputy Chief Minister and Revenue Minister Pilli Subash Chandra Bose said that it was an unprecedented move and would benefit tenant farmers without affecting the absentee landlords. Prior to this, the benefits offered by several farm schemes often ended up going to the owner of the land, instead of the tenant farmer, who is cultivating the land.
Intervening during the debate on the Bill, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that all benefits, including the Rythu Bharosa, would be given to the cultivator along with other benefits like bank loans, crop insurance and other sops. However, the ownership rights of landowners would not be affected, he said.
"The Bill provides confidence among landowners about their title over the lands and at the same time has provisions for the tenant farmers to get bank loans, input and other subsidies, and the Crop Cultivator Rights Card will not affect the title of the landowner," a press note from the Chief Minister's office stated.
Earlier this month, the Andhra Pradesh government said that it had decided to disburse an ex gratia of Rs 7 lakh as compensation to the families of farmers who had killed themselves in the state over the last five years.
Between 2014 and 2019, as many as 1,513 farmers had killed themselves, but only 391 families received compensation, Chief Minister Jagan said at a review meeting at the time, announcing immediate compensation to the families of these farmers.
The Chief Minister has asked officials to collect data from their respective districts and ensure that the compensation of Rs 7 lakh is paid to all the families who lost their breadwinner, due to loss of crops, failure to get loans, indebtedness and other issues, after due identification.