In a unique initiative, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will launch the Rythu Bandhu scheme in Karimnagar on Thursday, which will ensure that a large majority of farmers in the state will get Rs 8,000 per acre per year for two crops.
This comes after the state government said that it decided to distribute 57.33 lakh passbooks to farmers all over the state after the Revenue Department conducted a massive survey.
According to media reports, each acre consists of 40 guntas and the state government has promised an amount of Rs 100 to each gunta. While 40.92 lakh farmers own between one gunta and 2.5 acres and will get cheques worth Rs 100 to Rs 10,000 each, around 6,500 farmers in the state will get cheques worth over Rs 1 lakh, as they own land exceeding 25 acres each.
The state government has claimed that this will help the farmers in investing in the crops and procuring materials like fertilizers.
"Farmers are in a state of helplessness and distress all over the world. Farmers are throwing their produce on roads at several places in the world, as they are not getting the Minimum Support Price. They are suffering losses as they are failed to get their investment back. Keeping this in mind, in Telangana State we have decided to give financial assistance as investment support for agriculture. The government without being bothered by the heavy expenditure has decided to give Rs. 8,000 assistance under the scheme per acre to the farmer.â€ť Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had said in a statement last month.
"Take receipts from those receiving the passbooks and cheques. Form grievance cells to listen to the people who may have some problems. Collectors should have meeting with the bankers and ensure that cash is given once the cheques are presented. Inform the bankers in no uncertain terms that action would be taken against them if they fail to pay cash for the cheques. Some farmers are saying they donâ€™t need the financial assistance, such persons amount can be deposited to the account of farmers Coordination Committees,â€ť the CM clarified.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister's office last week, Rs 4,114.62 crore was kept ready in various banks ahead of the scheme's launch, while a meeting was held with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials to get another Rs 2,000 crore.
"By the time cheques are to be dispersed, Rs 6,000 crore cash reserves would be kept ready with the banks," KCR said.
The funds are kept with SBI, Telangana Grameena Bank, Grameena Vikas Bank, Canara Bank, IOB, Corporation Bank, Andhra Bank and Syndicate Bank.
Congress hits out
The Congress, which is the chief opposition party in the state, lashed out at the TRS government and called the scheme an 'eye wash' with political motives.
â€śGiving Rd 4,000 as input subsidy to each farmer per acre per crop will be of no use. In fact, the government has suddenly introduced this scheme eyeing the 2019 polls,â€ť TPCC chief spokesperson Sravan Dasoju told reporters.
Congress leader DK Aruna said that the scheme would only benefit rich farmers and landlords,who own large tracts of land, and not the poor landless farmers.
TPCC Working President Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka addressing a press meet, said, "We have found that there was an extensive damage to crops ready for harvest due to untimely rains. The way the administration conducting enumeration of crop loss is nothing but a show-off. Farmers in last four years never got MSP. Unless the government ensures minimum support price to all major crops, itâ€™s difficult to bail out the cultivators."
However, hitting back, Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao told reporters, â€śDuring the previous Congress regimes, farmers had to stand in long queues to get fertilisers and seeds. They used to remain awake for the whole night in order to run their bore wells to provide water to their fields because of erratic power supply to agriculture sector. Now, Telangana is the only State in the entire country where all sections of consumers including farmers are getting 24x7 uninterrupted power.â€ť