Published: Updated at – 12:54 AM, Mon – 28 Dec 20
Hyderabad: The distribution of financial support to farmers under the Rythu Bandhu program across the state will begin Monday. At Rs 5,000 per acre, the state government will allocate Rs 7,515 crore for 1.52 crore acres of agricultural land owned by 61.49 lakh farmers for the Yasangi season this year. The number of farmers benefiting from the program increased by 3.87 lakh from the 57.62 lakh farmers in the last Yasangi season.
Prime Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, reviewing the implementation of the Rythu Bandhu program in Pragathi Bhavan here on Sunday, instructed officials to deposit the amount directly into the bank accounts of all farmers in the state. He delegated responsibility for distributing financial support to all farmers to Agriculture Ministry officials, who will monitor implementation of the program twice a year.
Officials have already made arrangements to complete the distribution process ahead of the Sankranthi festival. District collectors and Ministry of Agriculture officials, as well as banks, have been ordered to ensure farmers withdraw funds released under the Rythu-Bandhu scheme from their bank accounts in strict compliance with Covid-19 norms.
Farmers who cannot visit their bank branches can also withdraw the Rythu Bandhu amount from micro-cash machines available at 4,860 post offices in rural areas. A maximum of 10,000 rupees per day can be withdrawn from these micro ATMs. The farmer can go to the nearest post office with his/her Aadhaar card linked to his/her mobile phone number and bank account. They can withdraw cash via biometrics and pass the OTP they received on their registered mobile numbers to the post office.
Meanwhile, at a high-level meeting with the premier, participants including senior officials advocated stopping the state government from setting up procurement centers to buy agricultural products from next year. Another opinion that emerged from the meeting was to abolish regulated agricultural policies and leave farmers to decide which crops to grow and sell the produce where they fetch high prices.
Officials pointed out that the state government had suffered losses of Rs 7,500 crore due to buying rice, sorghum, corn, red gram, Bengal gram and sunflower among others at the minimum support price (MSP) and had to sell them at the lower price Prices on the market due to lack of demand. The same situation was observed every year and as a result, the provincial government suffered a loss of Rs 3,935 crore on rice purchase alone. Other crops that resulted in losses are Corn (Rs. 1547.59 crore), Redgram (Rs. 413.48 crore), Bengal Gram (Rs. 108.07 crore), Sorghum (Rs. 52.78 crore) , Red Sorghum (Rs.52.47 crore), Black Gram (Rs.9.23 crore). ) and Sun Flower (Rs 14.25 crore). “The state government suffered losses totaling Rs. 7,500 crore, including wages for Hamalis and other operating expenses,” the officials said.
The meeting discussed in detail the purchase of various crops, the regulated agricultural policy, the sale and purchase of agricultural products in the markets, the responsibilities of Rythu Bandhu Samithies, the use of Rythu Vedikas, ensuring the availability of the necessary seeds and fertilizers, passing on of the necessary technological knowledge to farmers and other related problems.
The officials said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government set up sourcing centers in the village itself and bought the agricultural produce on humanitarian grounds to ensure farmers don’t suffer any losses. “But that cannot always be the case, since the state government is neither an economic organization nor a merchant or miller. In fact, the sale and purchase of agricultural products is not the responsibility of the government. Therefore, starting next year, it is not possible to set up a shopping center in the village,” officials noted.
In addition, the new farming laws implemented by the center allowed farmers to sell their crops anywhere in the country and therefore there is no need to set up shopping malls in the villages, officials pointed out, saying that selling and buying can be done instead Agricultural markets are appropriately facilitated. Instead of bringing their produce to market immediately, farmers would be advised to bring them in gradually. It was suggested that Rythu Bandhu Samithis, market committees and AEOs should coordinate and decide which village should launch their produce on any given day. “Tokens should be issued accordingly. It is convenient for farmers to receive their products on the appointed day. This policy must be strictly implemented,” agreed the participants of the review meeting unanimously.
Meanwhile, the center under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) had also released Rs 700 crore and the funds were deposited into the accounts of some 35,000 farmers in the state. Around 39.17 lakh eligible farmers whose data was uploaded to PM Kisan website and 37.42 lakh farmers received the financial benefit of Rs 2,000 in the first installment in April-July. However, only 36.76 farmers received the benefit in the second installment released in August-November, while around 35,000 farmers received Rs. 2,000 in their bank accounts in the third and final installment released for the current fiscal year 2020-21 .
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