In a first in the country, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has launched an investment support scheme which the government claims will act as a major boost for the farmers in Telangana. As part of the scheme, known as ‘Rythu Bandhu’, meaning friend of farmers, Rs 8,000 per acre per year will be given to all farmers who own land. Hence, farmers in Telangana would receive Rs 4,000 per acre “investment support” before every crop season for purchase of inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and others.
As per the scheme, the K Chandrashekar Rao-led government in the state has issued cheques totaling around Rs 5,600 crore to 57.33 lakh land-owning farmers in the state ahead of the current kharif crop season, says an IE report. Vakati Karuna, special officer for the Rythu Bandhu scheme was quoted as saying by IE that farmers have already encashed Rs 5,400 crore out Rs 5,600 crore cheques since May 10. Karuna added that the scheme has covered 1.42 crore acres so far.
A revenue department survey in November-December last year collected the address and land ownership details of all farmers, apart from their Aadhaar unique identity and mobile phone numbers. The government initially compiled a list of 72 lakh beneficiaries for the scheme. The Telangana government also plans to extend the flat Rs 4,000-per acre subsidy for the rabi season, with the distribution of cheques for it to commence from November 18 this year. The government is giving Pattadar (title holder) passbooks along with crop investment support (cheques) to 58 lakh farmers all over the state.
The TRS government is also providing 24×7 free power supply to farmers which is projected to cost another Rs 1,000 crore. Both schemes, Rythu Bandhu and free powe together will take a huge load off farmers’ shoulders and they now need to only incur the cost of hiring agricultural labour.
The Telangana government has gone in for issuing cheques rather than making DBT, direct benefit transfer, payments into farmers’ accounts as DBT money might be used by the banks to adjust dues against past loans taken by farmers. The specially-printed cheques can be encashed directly by farmers through banks of their choice.
Earlier. KCR said that a budgetary allocation of Rs 12,000 crore has been made for the scheme in 2018-19. He said Rs 6,000 crore has been provided to banks till yesterday for distribution to farmers. Rao said the scheme shall not be extended to tenent farmers.