Ten days after the BJP’s election losses in three Hindi heartland states, its government in Jharkhand announced a cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per acre to over 22.76 lakh small and marginal farmers across the state. The money will be directly transferred to their bank accounts.
The Raghubar Das-led BJP government Friday announced the launch of Mukhyamantri Krishi Aashirwad Yojana from the next fiscal year, ahead of the kharif season. Maize and paddy are two major kharif crops in Jharkhand.
The scheme is estimated to cost about Rs 2,250 crore to the state exchequer. The state government underlined that farmers with land-holding smaller than an acre will get a minimum of Rs 5,000 per year.
This scheme echoes the Rythu Bandhu scheme launched by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao ahead of assembly elections in the state. This is a support scheme for farmers that takes care of initial investment needs that ease the farmers’ debt burden. It provides a grant of Rs 4,000 per acre per farmer each season for the purchase of inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, labour and other investments in field operations.
While BJP lost in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, TRS bucked anti-incumbency and returned to power. The BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra had announced loan waiver last year.
The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have promptly announced a farm loan waiver.
Jharkhand officials told The Indian Express that the Rs 5,000 per acre — or about Rs 12,500 per hectare — will cover roughly a fourth of the estimated cost of cultivation of paddy (about Rs 55,000 per hectare) and maize (Rs 45,000 per hectare) in Jharkhand, based on the scale of finance calculated by banks while extending short-term crop loans.
Jharkhand is the third BJP state to announce steps to ease pressure on farmers since the BJP’s defeat on December 11.
On December 17, the BJP government in Assam approved two schemes, one to waive 25 per cent of farm loans and another to provide fresh interest-free loans through the Kisan Credit Card (KCC). The move is estimated to cost about Rs 600 crore to benefit farmers in the state.
A day later, the Gujarat government announced a Rs 625-crore waiver of pending electricity bills of around 6.22 lakh power connections in rural areas of the state including agriculture electricity connections.