Telangana Farmers In Awe Of Rythu Bandhu

The Opposition party blames TRS for resorting to populism ahead of upcoming elections as the government introduces massive investment subsidy, slated to benefit around 60 lakh farmers, writes SATEESH REVELLI

Will the flagship scheme of the ruling TRS party help to get back into power? How far will this vote bank magic benefit the ruling party? Can the Opposition party’s allegations about this scheme change the mood of the voter?

The political developments in Telangana State are turning into an interesting scenario as Rythu Bandhu Scheme (RBS) gets underway on 10th of this month. Under this investment subsidy scheme, every farmer in the State, who owns the land, will get an investment subsidy of 4,000 per acre, irrespective of how much he owns. It means that from a farmer holding an extent of one gunta (40 guntas per acre) to a farmer having hundreds of acres will get the investment subsidy, every season.ill the flagship scheme of the ruling TRS party help to get back into power? How far will this vote bank magic benefit the ruling party? Can the Opposition party’s allegations about this scheme change the mood of the voter?

As most of the farmers cultivate two crops per year, they will get the investment subsidy twice a year under the scheme. A total of 58 lakh farmers, owning about 1.42 cr acre of land will benefit from this historical decision. The TRS government says this scheme is the first-of-its-kind, wherein all farmers will be granted financial support, without involving the middlemen, to maximize agricultural production and productivity. The government has set aside 12,000 crore in 2018-19 Budget exclusively for investment subsidy scheme.

However, the Opposition parties are alleging that this scheme is nothing but an election gimmick. The government has started this populist scheme ahead of Gram Panchayat and General elections, they said.

If the TRS government is really committed on farming sector, why it did not give the investment subsidy in last 3 years, the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy questioned. The Chief Minister KCR did not even console the family members of 4,000 farmers who committed suicide in last four years. The TRS government did not extend any compensation and are now offering 4,000 per acre, as a sop only to woo farmers ahead of elections, by year-end or early 2019, he added. The main Opposition party also expressed that there would have been no need of investment subsidy amount had the government offered Minimum Support Price (MSP) to agriculture produces.

The Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) president and ex-chairman of T-JAC, Prof. M. Kodandaram, who also played a crucial role during Telangana Statehood movement, alleged that the TRS government was helping the realtors, instead of farmers with the RBS. While only 98 lakh acres were under cultivation across the state for Kharif season, the TRS government was giving away crop investment subsidy of 4,000 per acre for 1.4 crore acres.

The uncultivated land is the property of realtors, who use it for business purposes. As a result of this, 1,720 crore is going to realtors and non-cultivating owners. The Opposition parties also questioned the government regarding non-inclusion of tenant farmers in the scheme, asking why the government was not applying this scheme to tenant farmers. The government should also offer a bonus for the crops along with investment subsidy, a senior leader demanded. However, the government categorically ruled out the proposal to implement this scheme to tenant farmers. It will not be possible and practical to provide the investment support to tenant farmers as there is a possibility of ownership issues arising later, the Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao said.

On the other hand, the Telangana Telugu Desam also criticized the TRS government’s attitude about this scheme. The government spent crores of rupees in publicity, by giving advertisements not only in Telugu media but also in other regional language media across the country, a TDP leader alleged.

Meanwhile, 40 village Sarpanches of Maharashtra have demanded that their villages too be made part of Telangana. These villages of Nanded, about 40-50 km. from Nizamabad district of Telangana, had been part of erstwhile Telangana under the Nizam dominion. A group of Sarpanches of these villages wrote a letter to Telangana government requesting that they should once again be included in Telangana. Responding to this request, TRS MP, Kavitha said, farmers of neighbouring states were noticing the pro-farmer schemes of Telangana government. In this context, it is the time to decide the impact of this populistic scheme.