Rajanna-Siricilla: The Opposition, particularly Congress and BJP, are worried that farmers in other States would hold them accountable for not focusing on welfare schemes after the TRS government in Telangana launched Rythu Bandhu, IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao said on Sunday.
Telangana, he said, was now the focal point of welfare programmes for farmers across the country. People are discussing about the Rythu Bandhu scheme and officials from other States were contacting the Telangana Agriculture Department to find out more about the farmer-oriented welfare programmes launched here, he said.
“Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi is getting reports on Rythu Bandhu and its implementation. There is a fear in BJP that farmers across the country will demand a similar programme,” Rama Rao said.The Minister was addressing a meeting at Konaraopet in Rajanna Siricilla district where he distributed Rythu Bandhu cheques and new pattadar passbooks.
Strongly defending the advertisements released in newspapers in many States on the crop investment scheme, Rama Rao said: “There is absolutely nothing wrong in letting farmers of the country know what we are doing. If required, we will do so again”. His comments come in the wake of criticism by the Opposition over the release of advertisements by the Telangana government in other States. He also said the State government’s original intention was to waive the Rs 1 lakh farm loan at one go, but arranging the funds became an issue because Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was unwilling to advance the amount.
“We requested RBI to give us an advance of Rs 17,000 crore as the State was to get its rightful dues from the bank anyway. But, it did not agree and we had to split the loan waiver repayments in four instalments,” he said.
Rama Rao also flayed Opposition charges that Rythu Bandhu was rolled out keeping in mind the Assembly elections due next year. “It was one year ago that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced that farmers will be given input investment assistance. The time from then to now was required to set right land records and make all necessary preparations,” he said.
He also said it was not TRS that was worried about elections, but the Opposition. “We are confident that people have the wisdom to support a government that works hard for them. You put us in power even when no such schemes existed. We have faith in our people,” Rama Rao said.
During the course of the day, he distributed cheques and passbooks to farmers at Konaraopet, Rudrangi and Tangallapalli mandals. He also found fault with the Opposition for trying to create a rift between land owners and tenant farmers by demanding financial assistance for the latter. The Opposition’s motto was to blame the government by creating conflict among farmers, he said.