Karimnagar: In yet another major initiative for farmers in the State, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Monday announced a mega health-cum-life insurance scheme for ryots, under which they will be provided a cover of Rs 5 lakh per annum for healthcare and hospitalisation as also in the case of death. The State government will allocate Rs 500 crore in the budget for implementation of the scheme.
The Chief Minister’s announcement came in response to a farmer seeking insurance facility in the regional conference of mandal level Farmers’ Coordination Committees’ held at the Ambedkar Stadium here.The insurance scheme to be implemented soon would benefit about 70 lakh farmers in the State. Families of farmers will be paid the amount whether the ryot meets with accidental death or dies of natural cause. The State government will pay the entire premium on behalf of the farmers to bring happy tidings to the ryots, the Chief Minister said, adding in a lighter vein that Finance Minister Etela Rajender, who hails from Karimnagar, has to give the final nod for the insurance scheme.
“The Finance Minister will have his own problems in giving his word of approval for the health insurance for farmers,” he said in an obvious reference to the tightrope walk that the Finance Minister would have to endure in financial management. Chandrashekhar Rao then turned to Rajender seated on the dais and asked him if it would be okay on his part to introduce the insurance scheme, and the Minister sounded his ‘no objection’.
Forms for ryots soon
The Chief Minister said the insurance application forms will be sent to villages soon, and urged the FCCs members to ensure that each and every farmer in the village fills it. “It is the responsibility of members to provide insurance facility to all the ryots,” he added.
Responding to another question raised by a farmer, Chandrashekhar Rao made it clear that it was not possible to provide Farmers’ Investment Support Scheme (FISS) to tenant farmers since the rules and regulation of the Tenant Act were very strict. According to the Act, tenant farmers are not actual farmers, and in any case, not more than three to four farmers in a village cultivate land on tenant basis, he poined out. “Effectively, 97 per cent of the farmers decide to cultivate their lands instead of renting it out to others,” he said, adding that the decision was taken to protect the interest of land owners.
All types of orchards and non-tribals cultivating land in agency areas are, however, eligible for support under the FISS scheme, he said. To another question on Minimum Support Price, the Chief Minister said the authority to fix MSP was with the Central government. “The State government has nothing much to do when it comes to fixing MSPs. The Central government under the two national parties — Congress and BJP — retained the power to announce the MSP. The State government, however, has been doing its bit to enhance the MSP,” he said, and promised that the party MPs will fight for this in Parliament.
The State, he said, had sought Rs 2,200 as MSP for paddy, and had also requested the Centre to raise the MSP for wheat which was of course not a State crop. “Leaders from certain States are in touch with Telangana on the MSP issue and we are planning for a collective fight on the MSP issue,” he said.
The Chief Minister declared that TS would lead an agitation if required in support of farmers across the country if the Central government failed to take a positive decision on MSP and other farm-related issues.