In the first eight months of the Krishak Bandhu scheme launched in February, the Trinamool Congress government has disbursed around Rs 500 crore to more than 37 lakh farmers.
The scheme is divided in two parts — assured income and death benefit.
Under the assured income component, as many as 37,74,445 farmers had received Rs 478.37 crore till September 9. The state had got a total of 40,22,354 applications in this period.
The state provides an annual support of Rs 5,000 to farmers with one acre of land. The aid is released in two installments - the first in Kharif season and the second in Rabi season.
A similar scheme launched by the BJP government at the Centre in February also provides an annual income support of Rs 6,000 to farmers. However, the state government has not implemented it. “Here, we do not follow the Centre’s financial assistance scheme for farmers as we have our own scheme which has benefitted our farmers,” state agriculture minister Asish Banerjee said.
The state government has also received 2,245 applications under the Krishak Bandhu (death benefit) scheme which provides for a one-time grant of Rs 2 lakh to the family of a farmer (aged 18-60 years) who has died. It has cleared 1,173 applications and has disbursed Rs 23.46 crore to the beneficiaries.
“We have spent abour Rs 478 crore for the assured income scheme and around Rs 23 crore for the death benefit programme. In total, we have spent over 500 crore already under this scheme. More than 40 lakh farmers have sent applications. This financial assistance scheme has received a great response from farmers. Our department has already started disbursing cheques to them,” the agriculture minister said.
“Of the total Rs 1,000 crore for Krishak Bandhu, we have already spent over Rs 500 crore. The rest will be spent as we receive more applications from farmers,” he said.
On December 31 last year, CM Mamata Banerjee had announced this financial assistance scheme. For the agricultural sector, the state government, in its annual budget on February 4, made a budgetary allocation of Rs 6,086 crore for 2019-20 against Rs 2,766 crore in FY 2018-19 - a 120 per cent increase.
Of this, Rs 1,000 crore was allocated for the Krishak Bandhu scheme which was rolled out on February 15.
The Centre too, in its interim Budget tabled on February 1, announced a similar income support scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.