FGG seeks limitations in Rythu Bandhu

‘Scheme should help only small and marginal farmers’

The Forum for Good Governance (FGG) has asked the State government to modify the operational guidelines of Rythu Bandhu, the flagship scheme extending investment support to farmers in two instalments, in such a manner that the amount being spent on it is limited to help small and marginal farmers.

The government should take steps to limit the benefit to five acres land holding and exclude fallow lands not under cultivation from its purview. Politicians, bureaucrats, IT assesses, NRIs and employees should be excluded from the scheme.

Forum secretary M. Padmanabha Reddy appreciated the scheme saying it was an excellent scheme that helped farmers to come out of debt trap. But the scheme was wide open to any farmer without any restrictions. A rough estimate put it that half of the ₹15,000 crore being spent on the scheme annually was being pocketed by big landlords, absent landlords, including NRIs.

“Most politicians have large chunks of land under their control and are the beneficiaries,” he said in a memorandum submitted to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan. He cited the implementation of central scheme Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Yojana under which ₹6,000 a year was being paid to eligible farmers in three instalments.

The scheme however, had many elimination clauses like land holding size of not more than five acres, persons holding any constitutional post, politicians like Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Mayors and others, employees of State and Central governments and income tax assesses who were not eligible for the scheme. Wasteful expenditure was being controlled this way and about 40 lakh farmers received ₹6,200 crore under the central scheme in Telangana.

He urged the Governor to direct the Chief Secretary to get the scheme reviewed by experts and limit Rythu Bandhu to small and marginal farmers. “Why tax payers’ money should be doled out to politicians, landlords and bureaucrats?” he asked. Though a representation was submitted to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in this direction earlier, there was no response so far.

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