When the NDA government unveiled in its last budget the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi — an investment support scheme for farmers — the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) lost no time in taking credit for pioneering the idea in the country. A flurry of statements followed highlighting how the central government ‘copied’ the Rythu Bandhu scheme launched in Telangana in May, 2018 and how India’s youngest state had become a trailblazer in the implementation of welfare programmes.
TRS leaders were quick to point out how the PM kisan scheme, envisaging a cash transfer of ₹6,000 per year in three equal instalments to farmers owning up to five acres of land, pales in comparison to Rythu Bandhu under which farmers are given ₹8,000 per acre every year in two equal instalments with no cap on the extent of land. Thus, a farmer owning five acres of land will get ₹40,000 per annum.
The Telangana state government has since announced that the amount will be increased to ₹10,000 per acre annually from the next cropping season. “At present, the scheme entails an annual expenditure of ₹12,000 crore, benefiting 57 lakh farmers,” state agriculture secretary C Parthasarathi says. The amount is meant for purchase of raw materials like seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and to meet the labour costs.
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