A crop loan waiver worth Rs 2 lakh promised by the BJP seems to have taken the wind out of sails of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which was hoping to win farmers’ support with its ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme that gifts Rs 8,000 per acre per year to farmers.
With Telangana set to go to polls next year, the BJP last week announced that it would waive crop loans of up to Rs 2 lakh if voted to power in 2019. It also announced a financial aid for digging bore wells. The party’s state president, K Lakshman, has launched the ‘Jana Chaitanya Yatra’ to increase the party’s outreach.
Claiming that lakhs of tenant farmers were left out of the farm schemes of the TRS government, BJP’s state president K Lakshman said: “They (tenant farmers) suffer the most because they are at the mercy of moneylenders, as banks do not give them loans. It is mostly tenant farmers who commit suicide. There is an agrarian crisis in Telangana due to unfavourable decisions of the TRS government. BJP will rescue the farmers.”
Drubbing the loan waiver promise as an “impossible task”, state Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy claimed no one could fulfill such a promise.
“Farmers are happy with the TRS and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for helping them with Rythu Bandhu scheme. We are confident of their support because the TRS has worked for their welfare,” he said.
Rao had claimed the Rythu Bandhu scheme — launched on May 10 — would be a “game changer” in farmers’ welfare.
According to farmers’ leader Jeevan Reddy, many farmers incurred debts for hiring farm labour and transporting harvested crops. “…And the ‘Rythu Bandhu’ does not cover that. A majority of the farmers in Telangana own less than 2 acres land, so the amount of Rs 8,000 per year, received under the scheme, does not really help a lot. Tenant farmers have also been left out of the scheme. In this scenario, the BJP’s loan waiver appears promising to farmers,” Reddy said.
In June, the TRS government had also announced a free life insurance scheme for farmers. “More than 58 lakh farmers got money under the scheme and there was a feeling in the TRS that it will get their total support in 2019,” a senior TRS leader said.