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K Chandrashekar Rao’s ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme hobbled by leakages, faulty targeting of beneficiaries

K Chandrashekar Rao’s Rythu Bandhu scheme of providing Rs 8,000 per acre per year as cash support amounts to providing a Rs 1,000 crore-bonanza for absentee landlords like real estate developers, urban rich etc. The actual tiller is ignored, while the landowner is benefited.In a state that has a high incidence of tenancy farming, this scheme is bound to have huge leakages. Besides, the tardy implementation of the Forest Rights Act is depriving tribals and traditional forest dwellers, who do not possess ownership rights on the land they cultivate, of the benefits of the scheme. Many other sections of poor cultivators, whose land rights are not yet settled despite the revision of revenue records, also couldn’t avail the benefits of the Rythu Bandhu scheme. Such leakages raise questions over the very intent of the scheme. They would make one wonder if the scheme is aimed at providing solace to farmers reeling under indebtedness, or is a master strategy to garner votes through cash distribution by official channels in an election year.

At a time when agriculture is becoming a negative economic proposition, such schemes would certainly lead to benefit. Even if the scheme benefits 60 percent of the farmers, it would mean a lot for the welfare of the peasantry.

Experts estimate that the Rs 4,000 capital support per season per acre would meet 10 percent of the production cost with regard to paddy cultivation in a wetland area and 30 to 40 percent of production costs in the case of pulses grown in dryland areas.

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