A farmer input subsidy scheme in Telangana has left out tenant farmers from its purview as the scheme takes into account only land-owning farmers
The input subsidy scheme, aimed at reducing farmer distress, promises to provide Rs 4,000 per acre to help farmers defray input cost like fertilisers and seeds. However, the scheme does not include tenant farmers.
“The scheme's purpose is to provide input support and make land owners active farmers. That is why we are providing monetary benefits,” a senior official from the state’s agriculture department said, adding that as of now there is no provision to include tenant farmers.
The scheme is slated to kick off in May, but it will be implemented once the state government completes its ongoing survey to verify and update agricultural land records.
The survey, which was supposed to be completed by December 2017, is expected to be completed in the next few months. The survey, which began on September 15, 2017, is being carried out in 10,733 revenue villages.
The official said there are about six million farmers across the state. The number of tenant farmers are not known. The non-inclusion of tenant farmers has drawn criticism from different quarters.
Experts said exclusion of tenant farmers beats the whole purpose of the scheme as huge chunk of land-owners lease out their farm lands to tenant farmers every year.
“The targets are partial and the number of tenant farmers are much higher. A land owner already receives rent from the tenant farmer. If the crop is lost, then the latter bears that too. This is nothing but extra income to the land-owning farmers,” Kiran Vissa from the Rythu Swarajya Vedika, an organisation that works on farmer issues in the state, told Mint.
The scheme has been criticised as land records may have not been updated. Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) Chairman Professor M Kodandarm told said about 119,000 farmers have applied to regularise their land records, which have not been updated.“In the past, a person would sell or buy land based on a hand-written deed on an blank piece of paper. Even this has to be looked into,” Kodandarm said.