Madhya Pradesh revenue minister Rampal Singh on Friday said that rich farmers should not take compensation for damaged crops like well-off people did in opting for non-subsidised LPG cylinders.
Singh, referring to the state government withdrawing a rider on Thursday that said only farmers who did not fall under the income tax bracket be compensated for damaged crops, said he himself as a farmer did not claim compensation for damaged crops.
“If I had taken any such compensation in the past it was spent on several works done for the welfare of people,” Singh told HT.
With the withdrawing of the rider, even CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, many of his cabinet colleagues, several IAS and IPS officers and other rich people who own agriculture land are now entitled to get compensated for damaged crops.
The state government had to withdraw the rider as it had posed problems in segregating income tax paying farmers from those farmers who did not pay income tax, leading to the delay of disbursing compensation to farmer, government sources said.
The delay only infuriated farmers, some of them said.
District collectors faced a lot of difficulties in disbursing compensation as they were not supposed to include income tax paying farmers on the list of beneficiaries. It was difficult for the state machinery to select farmers who did not pay income tax, they said.
The CM was upset with a collector at a recent meeting with farmers as part of his ongoing public dialogue programme where they complained that there was delay in disbursement of compensation.
Officials, however, told the CM that the delay was caused because of the additional work that was being carried out by the government officials to select farmers who did not pay income tax.
A large numbers of farmers had submitted false undertaking. They further said that it was difficult for officials to immediately verify farmers’ claims through the income tax department or through other government agencies.
Delay in disbursement of compensation to farmers, was one reason behind the ruling BJP’s humiliating defeat in the by-polls for the Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha seat, according to BJP party leaders.
The state government had imposed the rider at a time when it was facing a growing financial crisis. Recently, CM Chouhan had told HT that the state government needed Rs 8,000-9,000 crore to compensate farmers and was forced to cut budget of government departments.