K Chandrasekhar Rao to give up agriculture subsidy of Rs 8,000

KCR will make an announcement in this regard after the guidelines for disbursal of this sop to farmers is released in Feb.

Hyderabad: Telangana state Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will be the first farmer in the state to give up the agriculture subsidy of Rs 8,000 per acre per year voluntarily. The subsidy is to be given to 71 lakh farmers across the state from May this year.

Mr Rao will make an announcement in this regard after the guidelines for disbursal of this sop to farmers is released in February.

Mr Rao’s “sacrifice” is to encourage “rich farmers” comprising ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, IAS, IPS, Group-I officers etc., to give up the financial aid, since they obviously don’t need it, being farmers in name only.

There’s some doubt about whether this will ploy will work, since the Central government’s similar plea for the rich to give up the LPG subsidy flopped. Of the 90 lakh LPG consumers in Telangana, only 4.90 lakh or a little over five per cent, gave up the subsidy.

Since Mr Rao had announced that the financial aid will extend to all agriculture land owners, irrespective of their social or economic status or the extent of land they hold, well-off farmers too are eligible for the scheme.

K Chandrasekhar Rao eligible for Rs 6.8 lakh sop annually
The Chief Ministers owns an 85-acre farm in Erravelli near the city, making him eligible to claim Rs 6.8 lakh every year.

The government estimates that it requires Rs 5,600 crore in May to disburse to all the 71 lakh farmers for the ensuing kharif season. Another Rs 5,000 crore will be required for the rabi season in November, which takes the total burden on the state exchequer to over Rs 10,000 crore per year.

The state government had struggled to clear the Rs 17,500 crore crop loan arrears promised during the 2014 Assembly elections. It took four years to clear the arrears in four instalments paid to banks.

So, having to now fork out Rs 10,000 crore every year to farmers has huge financial implications. The appeal to rich farmers to give up the subsidy voluntarily can save Rs 500 crore every year.

According to agriculture department statistics, 62 per cent of farmers in Telangana state hold less than 2.5 acres of land, 24 per cent own land between 2.5 and 5 acres, 11 per cent own between 5 and 10 acres, less than 3 per cent own between 10 and 25 acres and only 0.88 per cent own more than 25 acres.

The Chief Minister calculates that if those who own between 5-10 acres, 10-25 acres, and more than 25 acres give up the subsidy, that would mean 15 per cent of the 71 lakh farmers would have foregone the subsidy voluntarily.

The government has made it clear that the initiative will be voluntary and there are no plans to make it compulsory.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story