Over 7 mn Telangana farmers to get cash incentives for kharif, rabi seasons
Trying to woo farmers ahead of the assembly elections in April 2019, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao has already started schemes for free power supply for agriculture.india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 18:47 IST
The Telangana government will launch on May 15 a cash incentive of Rs 4,000 an acre for each of the around 7.2 million farmers in the state for the two main crop seasons — kharif and rabi.
The move is seen as populist step by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to woo farmers before the assembly elections due in April 2019. KCR, as he is popularly known, has already started schemes for free and round-the-clock power supply to farmers.
State agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy announced on Wednesday the agriculture investment support scheme (AISS) after a cabinet sub-committee discussed the modalities of implementing the new measure.
“The scheme will come into effect from the next kharif season, beginning in the first week of June. The disbursement of the incentive will be done from May 15,” said Reddy, who heads the panel.
The scheme will cost the government around Rs 5,685 crore each agriculture season and the state has 14.21 million acres of cultivable land.
“We have identified around 7.2 million farmers after the revision of land records. They would be given Rs 4,000 an acre each during the kharif and rabi seasons, which means each farmer would get Rs 8,000 an acre each year,” the agriculture minister said.
Farmers will be paid in cheques and encouraged to spend the money to buy pesticides, fertilisers, seeds and other inputs required for growing crops.
“We have not fixed any cap on the maximum extent of land owned by a farmer to be eligible for the incentive. Our survey shows a Telangana farmer owns maximum 10 acres,” Reddy said.
The government is contemplating introducing an exclusive budget for agriculture and allied sectors, along with the annual budget for 2018-19 to be introduced in the assembly in February.
The cabinet sub-committee dwelt at length on the mode of payment of the cash incentive. Initially, the money was proposed to be transferred to farmers’ bank accounts, but the idea was shot down over fears that banks could adjust the amount to their previous loan arrears.
The committee then proposed to give cash. But banks said such high quantities of notes cannot be arranged. “So, we decided to pay the incentive through cheques,” Reddy said.