Hyderabad: A great big puzzle whose elements included lakhs of farmers with small land holdings, calculations of cost of cultivation, a study of cropping patterns over the years, possible input costs for different crops, ability to store seed and fertilizer and much more went into the decision of fixing Rs 4,000 as the ‘appropriate’ amount towards Rythu Bandhu input assistance by the government.
It took almost a year to get it right for government officials and farming experts to figure out how to fit the disparate parts of the puzzle together. The idea of Rythu Bandhu came from Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who had been for sometime mulling about making good use of the Rs 4,250 crore a year the State was already setting aside for the past four years to service the farm loan waiver dues to banks. In the end, the calculations worked out that the State would need about Rs 6,000 crore each crop season which the government was willing to spend.
Then the subject experts from the Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University began to crunch the numbers.
Detailed home work
Vice Chancellor Dr V Praveen Rao, in an exclusive interview to Telangana Today, said: “We worked out where water was available, worked out fertilizer requirement village-wise for each acre of farmland based on soil types while paying attention to actual fertilizer use by farmers and examined current cropping patterns and costs involved.”
Explaining the exhaustive process that was initiated to arrive at the correct figure, he said: “Various combinations of cropping patterns were worked out along with their costs. Then we arrived at a median of Rs 4,000 per acre for most crops grown in the State. As long as a farmer does not grow a crop like sugarcane which is a little more cost-intensive, the actual costs per acre for most crops should not be more than Rs 2,600 an acre or at the most about Rs 3,200 per acre. This means the farmer will actually have cash left after all initial expenses, as long as he spends it prudently.”
Deadline pushed to May 20
The Revenue Department extended the deadline for distribution of pattadar passbooks (PPBs) and Rythu Bandhu cheques from May 17 to May 20 to ensure more farmers avail of the scheme.
Initially, the government said it would be a one-week drive starting from May 10. The Revenue officials chalked out plans accordingly and started the distribution programme, but in most mandals, some farmers were unable to reach the distribution counters due to various reasons, sources said.
The department so far distributed around 40 lakh PPBs and cheques. The officials said the final figures were yet to be worked out and officials were unable to reach out to all the villages due to the hectic schedule. “We decided to extend distribution by three days, but it doesn’t mean that after three days, the government will stop issuing PPBs and cheques,” Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali told Telangana Today.
Ali said during these three days, officials will visit villages that were not covered and personally hand over the PPBs and cheques to the beneficiaries.