With two months to go for assembly elections, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Tuesday announced two policies targeting two key constituents — farmers and adivasis. After a cabinet meeting, Raman Singh announced that the state government would distribute a Rs 300 paddy bonus to farmers when their paddy is bought. He also announced the rescinding of nearly 20,000 petty cases against tribals under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
Singh has come under fire from the opposition for the non-payment of paddy bonus for two years of his tenure, which among the primary poll planks of the BJP for the 2013 elections. Singh said that the cabinet would disburse a paddy bonus this year, and would give out the bonus at a time when a farmer’s paddy was being acquired.
The move is being read with political overtones as it is a departure from the norm, which is that the bonus is distributed to farmers after the cycle of acquisition is over, after a period of two to three months, which is when the new government would have been in place in Chhattisgarh after the elections.
“Under normal course, if the buying of paddy happens say on November 1, which is when it starts, he would get his bonus two to three months after the state has finished its procurement process. However this time, the moment he sells his paddy, he will be given the bonus at that point itself,” a senior Chhattisgarh government officer said.
Singh said, “This time, the bonus distributed will be about Rs 2,400 crore. In the Kharif season, the central government procures A grade paddy at Rs 1,770 per quintal, and common paddy at Rs 1,750 per quintal. By adding the bonus at the time of procurement, the farmers will get 2,070 and 2,050 rupees.”