Revanth Reddy planning to limit Rythu Bharosa to 10 acres; Rs 7,350 cr to be additional burden

Rythu Bandhu disbursement complete with Rs 7624.74-Cr directly deposited into farmers accounts

HYDERABAD: The Rytu Bharosa financial assistance scheme for farmers which will replace the Rytu Bandhu scheme implemented by the BRS Government might be launched in the next Vaanakalam (Kharif) season. Revanth Reddy’s Government has begun reviewing the existing scheme and is determined to put a cap on the number of acres owned by a particular farmer.

The Rythu Bandhu scheme attracted severe criticism as there was no upper limit on the number of acres a farmer-owned. With more than 90 percent of the farmers in Telangana owning agricultural holdings of less than three acres, big farmers and landlords benefitted by garnering a larger check of assistance dolled out by the then BRS Government.

Hence, the Congress Government, following the YSR Rytu Bharosa scheme implemented in the sibling State of Andhra Pradesh, has decided to continue with the existing Rytu Bandhu modalities starting from the Yasangi season (Rabi) without any restrictions.

However, from the upcoming Vanakalam (Kharif) season, the government is reportedly working on guidelines to distribute cash under the name of Rythu Bharosa, with a limit of 10 acres per farmer. This means that farmers with more than 10 acres of land will receive benefits for only 10 acres, and the remaining acres will not be covered.

The current distribution rate under Rytu Bandhu is Rs. 10,000 per acre, with Rs. 5,000 per acre for each crop. The proposed changes will increase the distribution to Rs. 7,500 per acre for each crop, totaling Rs. 15,000 per year. Even with the potential restrictions on the Rythu Bharosa scheme, the number of beneficiaries is not expected to decrease, as it currently covers approximately 70 lakh farmers across the state.

Under the new scheme, each farmer would receive Rs 7,500 per acre per season, totaling Rs 15,000 for both Yasangi and Vanakalam. According to the Government data, there are 1.15 lakh farmers with holdings ranging from 10 to 54 acres. They own 12.50 lakh acres. If the financial assistance is restricted to only 10 acres, then the 1.15 lakh farmers will receive assistance to 11.50 lakh acres which means that Rytu Bharosa will be removed to approximately one lakh acres.

The quantum of money distributed under the new scheme will be reduced by Rs 150 crore. The benefits of limiting financial assistance to 10 acres per farmer will be nullified by increasing the assistance from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 as promised by the Congress Government.

Government requires Rs 22,350 crore

Even if assistance is stopped for one lakh acres, the new Government must be able to spend Rs 22,350 crore to distribute Rytu Bharosa to 1.49 crore acres in the State. During the K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) regime, the Government spent Rs 15,000 crore on the Rytu Bandhu scheme, and the Congress under Revanth Reddy will have to spend Rs 7,350 crore more to implement the new scheme from next Vanakalam.

The Rytu Bandhu scheme was launched by KCR in 2018. Initially, Rs 4,000 was the assistance per acre, per season taking the total assistance to Rs 8,000. Later it was enhanced to Rs 10,000, but there was no cut-off, like the one proposed by the Congress Government.

Now the Congress Government is looking into the disparity between the number of acres in cultivation and the number of acres benefitted under the financial assistance scheme. Several realtors and big farm owners are said to have received the benefit so far, even though those lands were used for cultivation per se. The Government might soon launch a study jointly by the revenue and agricultural departments to identify such land.

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