Andhra Pradesh has launched its flagship 'YSR Rythu Bharosa - PM Kisan Samman Yojana' scheme - for farmers on Tuesday. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy formally inaugurated the welfare scheme at Kakutur village in Nellore district on Tuesday. Under the scheme, farmers will get financial assistance of Rs. 13,500 per annum in three installments, with the state contributing Rs. 7,500 and the Centre Rs. 6,000. Rythu Bharosa is one of the nine major promises (Navaratnalu or nine gems) made by the ruling YSR Congress Party in its manifesto.
Just a day before the launch of the scheme, the Chief Minister held a high-level review meeting and enhanced the assistance from the earlier promise of Rs. 12,500 to Rs. 13,500 annually and decided to implement the scheme for five years instead of the promised four years.
The farmer welfare scheme will benefit over 51 lakh families besides three lakh landless tenant farmers belonging to SC, ST, BCs, and minorities. The YSRCP Govt took potshots at the previous TDP Government in the State for introducing this welfare scheme.
"The previous (Chandrababu Naidu) government, in its survey, had wrongfully assessed that there were 43 lakh farmers and the data had many loopholes and irregularities at the entry-level itself. We have corrected and fine-tuned the data, included tenant farmers and the number of beneficiaries now stand at 51 lakh. Adding to this there are about 3 lakh tenant farmers belonging to SC, ST, BCs, and Minorities who will also be covered under the scheme," said state agriculture minister K Kanna Babu.
Originally, the scheme was christened YSR Rythu Bharosa. However, the opposition parties including the TDP and the BJP widely criticised that the ruling party was diluting the promise by including the central assistance of Rs. 6,000 per annum in it and that the schemes should be implemented separately. In what looks like an appeasement measure, the Andhra Pradesh Govt included both YSR Bharosa and PM Kisan Yojana in the scheme's name.
According to analyst Prof K Nageshwar Rao, these sort of schemes generally help the farmers build won't solve the basic problem of making agriculture viable. "It does alleviate the pain to some extent though. However, any amount of fiscal support will not make agriculture viable. There are implementation issues like identifying beneficiaries' face because land records are not proper and tenant farmers are not properly identified. A large number of farmers complain of exclusion. This has to be looked into," he said.
Speaking about the rechristening the name of the scheme, the professor felt, "It is part of reaching out to the Centre. Normally, the State Governments subsume the Central government schemes and include it in the state schemes. Essentially its a PR exercise though it doesn't matter if credit is given to the PM. BJP is not a major force in Andhra Pradesh. It won't be a threat to Jagan."