Updated: June 18, 2021 7:27:16 am
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday relaunched her government’s Krishak Bandhu scheme, doubling the assistance to farmers to Rs 10,000 a year. Farm labourers and sharecroppers who own at least one kottah (0.0165 acre) of land, will now get Rs 4,000 a year, instead of Rs 2,000 they used to get earlier.
Addressing a press meet at the state secretariat in Howrah, the chief minister said that as promised by her party — the Trinamool Congress — during the Assembly elections this year, she has decided to double the support income for farmers, labourers and sharecroppers.
“I am happy to announce that the Government of West Bengal is relaunching the Krishak Bandhu Scheme by doubling the annual financial support for all farmers and share-croppers. Additionally, those having less than one acre of cultivable land will now receive a minimum of Rs 4,000 per annum, on a pro-rata basis. Farmers will now receive increased financial support from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for one acre or more of cultivable land,” she said, adding that the government’s scheme would benefit over 60 lakh farmers.
The money will be paid in two equal instalments.
Comparing her government’s scheme to the Centre’s PM-Kisan scheme, Banerjee said, “Our (Krishak Bandhu) scheme is more inclusive than the Centre’s (PM-Kisan scheme). People having small patches of farmland are not included in the Central scheme. We think about every section of the farming community.”
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, Rs 6,000 is given yearly in three equal instalments to small and marginal farmer families having a combined landholding of up to two hectares. (Around 2.47 acres make one hectare)
The chief minister claimed that the Centre’s scheme is not benefitting the farmers in West Bengal as many are not covered under it. “The Centre is giving less money, and not all the farmers are getting money. Sharecroppers and labourers are not covered under the Central scheme,” Banerjee said and added that she has directed district magistrates to distribute the money under the state scheme to the beneficiary farmers at the earliest.
The chief minister said that Rs 290 crore was released by her government on Thursday for 9.78 lakh farmers for providing assistance as part of the Krishak Bandhu scheme.
The West Bengal Cabinet on June 10 gave its green signal to increase the assistance to farmer-beneficiaries from Rs 5,000 per acre per year to Rs 10,000 under the scheme.
Banerjee claimed that West Bengal is an exception from many other parts of the country where farmers die regularly and have to agitate on road for over six months. Stating that her government has so far spent a huge amount as an insurance premium for the farmers, she said, “In case of farmer’s death, his family will get Rs 2 lakh under our scheme.”
“We have been awarded six times the Krishi Karman Award for our performance in agricultural production. Farmers have been awarded Krishak Ratna Samman by the Bengal government. The amount for Krishak Bardhokko Bhata has been increased from Rs 750 to Rs 1,000. One Lakh farmers have benefitted from the same,” she said.
Banerjee told reporters her government has provided 70 lakh Kisan Credit Cards to farmers and 20 lakh more such cards will be given in future to help them buy equipment.
She said that about 2 lakh Cyclone Yaas affected farmers were being given ‘Nona Swarna Dhaan’ kit comprising high yield saline water-proof paddy seeds and other items required for growing paddy on the land submerged by sea waters in South and North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts.
“Around 1.20 crore farmers have been given a monetary help of Rs 3, 500 crore to start with new cultivation post-cyclone Yaas in the state,” she said, adding that her government has not received a single rupee from the Centre as compensation for the damage caused by the cyclone that battered the state less than a month ago.
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