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Rythu Bandhu costliest scheme in the country

Hyderabad: The state government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme is the most expensive in the country among smilar plans being implemented for farmer welfare.

A study done by the State Bank of India (SBI)revealed that Rythu Bandhu imposes a higher financial burden on the exchequer when compared with giving high minimum support price (MSP). It was more expensive than the Madhya Pradesh government’s Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY) which pays farmers the difference between MSP and the actual market rate.

The study found that Rythu Bandhu was attracting the attention of farmers from other states. If implemented nationwide, it wold cost Rs 3 lakh crore per year. The report said that some states were keen on implementing the programme.

The TS government is spending Rs 12,000 crore per year on the scheme to disburse Rs 8,000 per acre per year to over 58 lakh farmers, which also includes extending Rs 5 lakh free life insurance.

The study said the Rythu Bandhu or 1.5 times higher MSP or Madhya Pradesh government's would not address the real issues faced by the farmers. “They can only offer short-term benefits but not long-term solutions," it noted.

“When compared with giving 1.5 times higher MSP or MP’s BBY scheme, the Rythu Bandhu could be implemented effectively as cash is disbursed directly to the farmers through cheques for the first time in the country. For this reason, the scheme turned out to be more expensive than 1.5 times MSP or BBY,” the study noted.

It suggested that long-term benefits could be provided to farmers by focussing on setting up of agri-related industries, remunerative price for crops, providing modern facilities for storage and transportation etc.

The study noted that the only flaw in the Rythu Bandhu scheme was that it was not extended to tenant farmers. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has repeatedly stated that there were legal problems in giving the aid of Rs 4,000 per season per acre to tenant farmers, and has stated that it would be restricted to landowners.

It observed that the crop acreage will increase and value of agriculture land will go up due to the Rythu Bandhu scheme.

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