Is Congress govt. planning cuts to loan waiver, Rythu Bandhu to reduce beneficiaries?

The Congress government in Telangana is reportedly considering reducing the number of beneficiaries of the crop loan waiver scheme and Rythu Bandhu by implementing stricter eligibility criteria. Due to financial constraints, it seems impractical to allocate sufficient funds for both schemes before August 15. Consequently, the government may filter out some beneficiaries, making many farmers ineligible.

There are media reports suggesting that the Congress government is contemplating imposing a cap of five acres for Rythu Bandhu. Despite it being the second crop season since the Congress party came to power in Telangana, they have continued the BRS government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme instead of fulfilling their promise of implementing Rythu Bharosa.

The Congress government has cited the need to finalize modalities as the reason for disbursing only Rs. 5,000 per acre per season, instead of the Rs. 7,500 promised during the Assembly elections. Additionally, the Congress party had pledged to extend the scheme’s benefits to tenant farmers and farm laborers.

Also, waiving off Rs. 2 lakh in crop loans for all farmers appears to be a challenging task for the Congress party at this time. To address this, there are reports that the government plans to exclude government employees, private sector employees, and individuals filing income tax returns from the loan waiver.

Speculations suggest that the Revanth Reddy government might use the provisions of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme as a basis for the loan waiver. Under the PM Kisan scheme, the central government provides Rs. 6,000 annually in three installments to farmers but excludes government employees, tax-paying private employees, and those in constitutional positions. As a result, over half of the farmers in Telangana are ineligible for PM Kisan benefits.

Currently, about 70 lakh farmers receive seasonal investment assistance through the Rythu Bandhu scheme introduced by the KCR government, whereas only 33 lakh farmers benefit from the PM Kisan scheme. Among the Rythu Bandhu beneficiaries, 37 lakh farmers are ineligible for PM Kisan assistance. If PM Kisan rules are applied to the loan waiver, many farmers may not receive the waiver.

The government faces a significant challenge in securing the necessary funds for both the loan waiver and Rythu Bharosa. To overcome this, they may implement cuts to both schemes by excluding many farmers.