Rythu Bandhu more a sentiment than political rhetoric; scheme shouldn’t be in peril

Rythu Bandhu more a sentiment than political rhetoric; scheme shouldn’t be in peril

HYDERABAD: In the heart of Telangana, under the vast, open skies where the fields stretch far and wide, a story of promises and expectations unfolds. It's a tale that resonates with every farmer tilling the land, with every family hoping for a better tomorrow. This is the narrative of the Rythu Bandhu scheme and the unfulfilled promises of the Congress party's six guarantees, a pivotal theme in the recent political campaign.

The narrative opens in the rural heartlands of Telangana, where agriculture is not just a profession but a way of life. Here, the Rythu Bandhu scheme has been a beacon of hope. For the first time, farmers felt how the TRS Government’s policy was directly impacting their lives, providing them with financial support to kickstart their agricultural season. It's a scheme that met directly their immediate needs, lending a tangible helping hand.

Against this backdrop, the Congress party launched its ambitious campaign for 2023 Elections promising six guarantees that aimed at revolutionising life in Telangana. These promises, wide-ranging and appealing, were meant to address the core issues faced by the common man, including those in the agricultural sector. Employment, healthcare, education - the guarantees touched upon every aspect of societal development. The farmers, weary yet hopeful, listened to them with rapt attention and hoped for brighter prospects.

The Congress party, charged with enthusiasm and confidence, promised their implementation within the first 100 days. It was a bold claim that kindled hope in every household.

Expectations were set high, and the clock started ticking.However, as days turned into weeks, the six guarantees began staring at them. The narrative takes a new turn here, highlighting the contrast between the immediate impact of the Rythu Bandhu scheme and the delayed or absence of fulfilment of the Congress party's promises.

The farmers, who have been looking towards the promises with a hope, are slowly turning to view them with skepticism.As the narrative reaches its climax, it focuses on a critical point: the need for being realistic, timely, and implementable, especially in sectors as crucial as agriculture. The story of the Rythu Bandhu scheme stands as a testament to the impact of well-implemented policies.

The narrative serves as a reflection on political promises and their implications. It's a call for accountability and realistic planning.

For the farmers of Telangana, the story is more than political rhetoric. It's about their livelihoods, their dreams, and the future they hope to cultivate in their golden fields.

The Rythu Bandhu assistance of Rs.73,000 crore to reach over six million farmers was halted at its 13th instalment on the eve of the elections. Former Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and current Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy had represented to the Election Commission of India to stall the disbursement of the Rythu Bandhu assistance as it would have a bearing on the elections.

However, the KCR Government had represented to the ECI to let the disbursement happen as it was an ongoing programme for over six years. The ECI, which had initially acceded to the request, however, jettisoned the disbursement citing a flimsy reason of a statement of then Finance Minister T Harish Rao who announced that the instalment for Yasangi (Rabi) crop would hit the bank accounts of the beneficiaries in a couple of days.

Harish Rao had made the announcement about the disbursement in his capacity of the head of State exchequer, but it was taken exception to by the ECI, a caged parrot (in whose hands is all too well known).The farmers were a disappointed lot with the decision as the time for sowings or transplantation season was running out.

Meanwhile the polls occurred and the outcome came against the Bharat Rashtra Samithi which was at the helm of affairs in the State for close to a decade. Suddenly, the farmers found themselves left in the lurch and clueless on the fate of the pioneering programme of input assistance that had heralded new vistas to agriculture in India ever since it became independent.

The Revanth Reddy dispensation which had promised Rs. 15,000 assistance to farmers (asset owners) or tenant farmers who are tilling the land and Rs. 12,000 to farm labourers as part of the flagship programme of its “Rythu Bharosa”, an important one among the six guarantees, however, paused the scheme.

Instead, it has decided to release the Rythu Bandhu scheme in its original form. This could provide a reprieve to farmers, but it’s all confusion confounded as to how the financial assistance is being released and to whom all hasn’t been clarified yet by the government. Though the disbursement began, not all have gotten the money as yet. The schedule of disbursement based on the landholding size of the farmers has yet to be clarified by the State Government.

Interestingly, working president of the BRS K T Rama Rao has jibed at the Revanth Reddy Government for buying six more months of time to implement the Rythu Bharosa instead of enforcing it immediately, though the Congress had promised that the new scheme would come into effect soon after the party taking over the reins of the State administration.

The nitty gritty of the beneficiaries and finer details on how it would be implemented have not been worked out by the Congress before doling out the promise. The Government, for sure, is not clued on how it would delineate between asset-owning farmers and tenant farmers and how it would enrol farm labourers. This will be a Herculean task anyway.

This threw the entire programme into a peril. Farmers, on their part, are keeping their fingers crossed groping in the dark about an essential assistance that is for now caught in a limbo.

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