Under Akhilesh Yadav’s government in Uttar Pradesh, whether or not a farmer can get subsidy to buy a tractor or auxiliary agriculture equipment, depends on the fact whether he was the “first to apply” for it and on how much land he has.
It can also depend on how well the farmer is connected to the ministers or the MLAs of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
Sample this: Among those who were granted the maximum subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh to buy tractors and auxiliary agricultural equipment through a scheme for farm mechanisation under Centre’s National Horticulture Mission were mother of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya and son of Panchayati Raj Minister Kailash Yadav.
The scheme is meant to help farmers of horticultural crops procure machinery.
The beneficiaries who were provided subsidy “on first-come-first-served” basis under the scheme in 2012-13 financial year include many politicians and contractors. In some cases, more than one person from a family received the subsidy —- for buying one tractor and an auxiliary farm implement such disc harrow, rotavator, power tiller, seed drill, cultivator or potato planter.
Contacted, S P Joshi, director, Horticulture and Food Processing, said the beneficiaries are selected on the “first-come-first-serve” basis as it is not possible to provide subsidy to all who apply. “The district level committee sends applications to the directorate and then directorate forwards them to government. Only completely filled applications are considered and the beneficiaries are selected looking at their suitability like how much land they have,” he said. He, however, for obvious reasons, said he could not comment on the subsidy given to any particular person. The Indian Express tracked some “farmers” who received the largesse under Akhilesh Yadav government—
– Virendra Yadav, only son of cabinet minister and MLA from Jangipur constituency of Ghazipur district, Kailash Yadav, got Rs 1.5 lakh for a tractor and an assisting farm equipment. Contacted, Virendra said he is a farmer and does not have any other business. “I got the subsidy but it has nothing to do with my family. I applied and got it,” he said.
– Manjul Raje, mother of Kunda MLA and cabinet minister Raja Bhaiya, too got the maximum subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh, for a tractor and a supporting farm equipment. While she could not be reached, when contacted Raja Bhaiya said: “My mother owns land. I am also a farmer. I have no other way of earning but agriculture and orchards. As a farmer, my mother or I can avail the subsidy”.
– Ranjit Singh Judeo, a former minister in Congress regime, who unsuccessfully contested from Garautha Assembly seat of Jhansi in 2012. He has received a subsidy of Rs 60,000 for a small tractor. “I was a minister twenty years back. I lost assembly election. It is not banned to for ministers to seek subsidies. I got it (the tractor) to use in my gardens. Also, I am from a backward community,” Judeo said. Incidentally, Judeo is maternal uncle of Raja Bhaiya.
– Deepak Agarwal, a resident of Hathras, is brother-in-law of SP MLA from Sadabad constituency Devendra Agarwal. He has got a tractor and a rotavator with a subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh from the government. “I had an old tractor but I wanted a new one so I applied for the subsidy and got it,” Deepak said.
– Bihari Ji Singh, a resident of Sevarai village in Ghazipur district and a distant cousin of Tourism Minister Om Prakash Singh, has a rice mill there, a harvester machine and also agricultural land. “My rice mill is closed now. I cultivate ginger. My brother owned an old tractor, but I wanted a new one so I applied for subsidy. Minister (Om Prakash Singh) is my distant cousin, but he did not help me in getting the subsidy,” Bihari Ji said.
– Rajiv Chauhan, a resident of Simrai village in Mainpuri, is an SP leader. His mother is chairman of Sultanganj block development committee. He has got subsidy for a tractor and a rotavator. Chauhan said, he runs brick kilns in Mainpuri but also has agricultural land.