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Scheme Rythu Bandhu (Case Study)

 

Relevance:

  • GS Mains paper II, III
  • Agriculture, government schemes

Why in news?

  • An agriculture support scheme for farmers in Telangana called RYTHU BANDHU has earned the appreciation of outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.
  • This scheme can be the template for social and agricultural policy.

Provisions under RYTHU BANDHU Scheme:

  • It is the first ever farmer investment support scheme in India before every crop season.
  • Rs 8000 per acre grant to all Telangana farmers every year (Rs 4000 per crop season).
  • Rs 12000 crores budget allocated for the scheme (financial year 2018-19).
  • 58 lakh farmers in the state to benefit.
  • The objective is to help the farmer meet a major part of his expenses on seed, fertiliser, pesticide, and field preparation.
  • 92% of the beneficiaries own less than 5 acres, 5% own 5-10 acres and the remaining 3% own more than 10 acres.
  • Over a period of four or five years, Telangana farmers will be rid of all debts due to Rythu Bandhu scheme.
  • Indebtedness among Telangana farmers is very high and they fall into the vicious debt trap of moneylenders.
  • Farmers also apply for loans from banks which get delayed as they don’t approve quickly in time for the crop season.
  • Rythu Bandhu money provides that cushion to the farmer because with that money the farmer can purchase seeds and fertiliser and start sowing.

Criticism:

  • First: It does not exclude rich farmers and wealthy landlords.
  • The scheme does, however, have a provision under which cheques can be returned to the local authorities.
  • All ministers and most top IAS and IPS officers who own farmland, in fact, have reportedly returned the cheques.
  • Secondly: The scheme leaves out tenant cultivators — an estimated 40% of Telangana’s farming population and mostly coming from the poorest and most disadvantaged backgrounds.

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