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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Largesse for Jharkhand farmers as state rolls out 3000 crore scheme

Vice president Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to flag off the scheme, along with Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das, at Ranchi’s Harmu ground.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2019 01:06 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Farmers still preparing their field to plant paddy saplings.
Farmers still preparing their field to plant paddy saplings. (Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
         

The Jharkhand government is set to roll out its flagship Rs 3000-crore scheme for farmers on Saturday, in what appears to be pre-poll largesse ahead of Assembly elections due in November-December this year.

Under the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana (MMKAY), Rs 5,000 per acre, upto a maximum of five acres, would be transferred directly to the bank accounts of 22.76 small and marginal farmers in two instalments every year. This would be in addition to the Rs 6,000 that the Centre gives farmers in three installments every year, officials familiar with the matter said.

Vice president Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to flag off the scheme, along with Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das, at Ranchi’s Harmu ground. Over 15 lakh farmers are expected to receive the first instalment in their bank accounts through direct benefit transfer on Saturday, the officials added.

Jharkhand would become the fourth state to launch such a farmer assistance scheme after Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha. But Jharkhand agriculture department officials claimed that, barring Telangana, no other state had allotted such a huge amount – a maximum of Rs 25,000 annually -- to a single farmer.

While farmers are provided Rs 5,000 per acre per season under Telangana’s Ryuthu Bandhu scheme, Rs 5,000 per hectare is given to farmers growing kharif crops under Karnataka’s Raitha Belaku scheme, up to a maximum of Rs 10,000. Odisha’s KALIA, or Krushak Assistant for Livelihood and Income Augmentation, scheme provides Rs 10,000 per farm family for the kharif and rabi seasons.

Under Jharkhand’s MMKAY scheme, a farmer will annually be provided financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per acre up to a maximum of five acres for purchasing inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, and other field operations. “Farmers having less than one acre of land will also receive Rs 5,000 in their bank accounts,” said Jharkhand agriculture department director Chabi Ranjan.

Chief minister Das had announced the scheme in December last year, a month after 129 blocks in Jharkhand were declared drought-hit. Ironically, the scheme is being rolled out at a time when another drought is looming over Jharkhand. About 62% of paddy-growing land in the state is lying fallow due to deficient monsoon rainfall. The kharif sowing season ends on August 15.

State agriculture secretary Puja Singhal said, “In view of deficient monsoon rain and less than normal sowing coverage, we have decided to help farmers at the earliest so they do not face any distress.”

Around 15 lakh farmers have enrolled for the scheme so far. “The enrollment process will continue. We will ensure that all farmers get the first instalment by October this year,” she added.

“When we have a drought-like situation, assistance of Rs 5000 per acre will be a great relief. Even if our input cost is more than this, it will reduce our financial burden,” said Aftab Hussain, a farmer from Chatra.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 23:32 IST