Andhra Pradesh government today became the first to include all tenant farmers in an investment support scheme announced today which promises a fixed sum of Rs 10,000 per annum to all farmers in the state, irrespective of the size of their land holding.
The state Cabinet which met at Amaravati Wednesday endorsed the suggestion made on February 5 by Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy to provide investment support under `Annadatha Sukhibhava Scheme’ to farmers ahead of Kharif and Rabi by making a direct bank transfer to their accounts. It is a major sop ahead of the polls to more than 70 lakh farmers.
Somireddy said that all tenant farmers who would be given ‘Cultivation Certificates’ and ‘Loan Eligibility Certificates’ will get Rs 5,000 each per crop.
“Andhra Pradesh is the first state to include tenant farmers also to receive the investment support benefits. They will receive two instalments of Rs 5,000 each ahead of Kharif and Rabi, a total sum of Rs 10,000. We will come to know the number of tenant farmers who will get this benefit when certificates are issued to them. All those farmers who are eligible for Rs 6,000 per household under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will receive Rs 4,000 from the Andhra Pradesh Government. We are merging both—the Centre will give Rs 6,000 and AP Government will give Rs 4,000 more. About 54 lakh farmers will benefit from this,” Somireddy said.
Ahead of twin polls, casting net wide
Elections to the legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh will take place along with the Lok Sabha elections. For Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, the elections present twin challenges and twin opportunities — he is seeking to return to power in the state, fighting off YS Jaganmohan Reddy, and he is hoping to win enough Lok Sabha seats to be able to reach a kingmaking position in the event of the elections producing a hung House. The Annadata Sukhibhava scheme announced Wednesday is Naidu’s big throw of the dice in this high-stakes game. To cast the net wide, the Andhra scheme has pitched universality as its USP — unlike the Centre’s PM-KISAN, it includes all tenant farmers in the scheme, and removes the cap on landholding size for beneficiaries.
“The Centre will be transferring the Rs 6,000 in three instalments of Rs 2,000 each. When the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi is transferred at the end of February, we will add Rs 3,000 under ‘Annadatha Sukhibhava Scheme” for the Kharif crop. We will adjust the pending amount for Rabi season. This will cost the government about Rs 1,620 crores each season. Approximately 15 lakh farmers who own more than 5 acres land and are thus not eligible for Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will receive Rs 10,000 per annum irrespective of the size of their land holding. It will cost the government Rs 750 crores. The entire scheme will cost Rs 5,000 crore per annum for which a provision has been made in the budget,” Somireddy said.
The minister said that although the kharif season in AP starts by July, the government will release the amount now so that the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi does not go waste. “Rs 2,000 is of no use to a farmer. By adding Rs 3,000 from our side we are making a decent sum that the farmer can use to prepare his field. Ahead of the Rabi season we will pay the remaining amount along with the other two instalments un PM Kisan Samman Nidhi,’’ he said.
The minister stated that as part of the farm loan waiver scheme, the final two tranches of Rs 4,000 crore each would be released soon. The ruling Telugu Desam Party government has so far released Rs 15,000 crore as waiver for farm loans of up to Rs 1.50 lakh.