Hyderabad: The Rythu Bandhu scheme, through which the Telangana government has been providing financial assistance to land-owning farmers via direct benefit transfer, is set to take precedence over Dalit Bandhu beneficiaries.
According to official sources in the finance department, the state government, which is facing a nearly Rs 40,000 crore fund crunch this year due to the Centre's restrictions on loans, has decided to first mobilise Rs 7,500 crore for Rythu Bandhu for disbursal this month for the rabi season.
It will arrange Rs 5,900 crore for Dalit Bandhu from January to March to extend the benefit to 500 Dalit families each in 118 Assembly constituencies (except Huzurabad). The state government raised Rs 500 crore through a bond auction on Tuesday.
Despite the fact that the rabi season began in October, the government is yet to distribute Rythu Bandhu funds to over 70 lakh farmers due to the fund shortage.
Of the 119 Assembly constituencies, the government had sanctioned Rs 20,000 crore for Huzurabad alone, where the scheme was launched in August 2021, to cover 20,000 Dalit families at once. At least 15,402 beneficiaries received Rs 10 lakh each in the constituency.
The government has decided to expand the scheme to the remaining 118 constituencies in the next phase.
Last year, 100 beneficiaries in each constituency were covered, and it was decided this year to cover 1,500 beneficiaries in each constituency in three phases, covering 500 beneficiaries in each phase.
This year's budget included a Rs 17,200-crore allocation for Dalit Bandhu, but no funds were released due to a funding crunch.
According to data obtained from the finance department, the government only realised 43 per cent of the estimated revenue earnings in the budget in the first seven months of this fiscal year (April to October). The November figures are yet to be released.
With only four months until the current fiscal year ends, the government faces a herculean task in filling the remaining 50 per cent earnings gap.
The revenue gap widened as the government's budget estimates for loans, non-tax revenue, central grants, and the state's share of central taxes went haywire. While the Budget estimated loans of Rs 52,167 crore for 2022-23, only Rs 20,057 crore had been realised as of October 31.
Similarly, the state's share of central taxes was estimated at Rs 12,407 crore, but it only realised Rs 5,911 crore; central grants were estimated at Rs 41,001 crore, but it only received Rs 5,592 crore; and non-tax revenue was estimated at Rs 256,431 crore, but only Rs 8,796 crore were realised.
The state's own tax revenue collections, on the other hand, remained stable, with excise duties, stamps and registrations, VAT and GST bringing in good revenues. The government received Rs 23,493 crore in GST against a budget estimate of Rs 42,189 crore, Rs 10,320 crore in excise duty against a budget estimate of Rs 17,500 crore, VAT Rs 17,329 crore against a budget estimate of Rs 33,000 crore, and stamps and registrations Rs 8,238 crore against a budget estimate of Rs 15,600 crore....