Government for RBS to only farmers owning less than 10 acres?
Limiting beneficiaries will save `500 crore to the State per annum
Hyderabad: Telangana State government has reportedly remained indecisive on the issue of extending financial assistance to the farmers owning ten or more acres of land under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme (RBS).
Speaking to The Hans India, a senior official of the Agriculture department said that the issue has come for discussion against the backdrop of the financial crunch faced by the government during the last two quarters of the current financial year.
Currently, the State government has been extending Rs 5,000 per acre per agriculture season under the RBS to about 50 lakh farmers in the State.
This is, in addition to Rs 6,000 per year provided to about 20 lakh farmers in the State under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.
The State government had earlier allocated Rs 6,000 crore in the budget to meet the RBS expenditure during the just concluded Kharif season.
Also, there is some delay in the disbursal during Kharif for about 10 per cent of farmers. However, most of these farmers are from the places where there is late-Kharif cultivation, the sources claimed.
Further, currently, the State government has to disburse Rs 500 crore to the farmers owning 10 acres and above, under the RBS.
Now, the issue under discussion is, whether to continue the scheme in its existing format? Or, limit the benefits of the scheme, only to the farmer owning less than 10 acres of land from the ensuing Rabi?
The officials of the Agriculture department are favouring limiting the beneficiaries to the farmers with less than 10 acres of lands.
"It is not the first time that it has come for discussion. The issue had also come up for consideration at the very beginning of designing the scheme. However, it was decided to extend the financial assistance to all the farmers.
Reason being, the benefits were calculated based on the output vis-a-vis, the investment assistance. For example, the State government will have to bear annually a burden of Rs 500 crore to extend financial assistance to the farmers owning 10 or more acres of land.
The investment yields and the value of the agricultural output that is valued more than three to four times to the investment assistance provided.
It was against this backdrop that earlier the benefit of the scheme is not restricted. But the officials are favouring limiting the financial assistance. Or, at least introduce a scheme asking the farmers owning 10 or more acres of lands to voluntarily give up the benefits of RBS.
The issue is left to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to take a final call on the issue before announcing the date for the disbursal of RBS for the ensuing Rabi season.