Suvarna Bhoomi too is a gamble for farmers in State

Lottery to identify beneficiaries of the land improvement grant scheme

 Consider this. Of the total 21.05 lakh applications received from across the State, the highest number of 16.5 lakh applications are under the agriculture category, the remaining sectors being horticulture, sericulture, bio-fuel, organic farming, fisheries and beekeeping. Of them, only 3.72 lakh are eligible for the Rs 10,000 cash incentive this year under the agriculture category. Most of the beneficiaries have already been selected through draw of lots at the taluk level.

Now, if an applicant has been selected for the scheme well and good. But if not, he will automatically be pooled in for the lottery next year. Given that another three lakh beneficiaries under agriculture will be selected next year, the applicantd stand a one-fourth chance of getting lucky in 2012. That is, if there are no fresh applicants next year.

To top it all, the State Government has given an assurance to the Karnataka High Court that all small and marginal farmers in the State (around 52 lakh) would be covered under the scheme in a phased manner.

So it is left to providence each year for the applicant to get selected.  An unlucky applicant can remain unselected for five consecutive years.

 According to Agriculture Department officials, the process of identifying more than 90 per cent of the beneficiaries through lottery system for the scheme this year has been completed at the taluk and the list will be displayed at Raitha Samparka Kendras soon.

Identification of the beneficiaries has not commenced in some taluks in Bangalore rural, Davangere and Kolar districts as the model code of conduct for the by-polls to the Assembly seats was in place.

There is no such competition in other categories - horticulture, sericulture, bio-fuel, organic farming, fisheries and beekeeping - with practically all applicants getting selected as the number of applications did not surpass the target set for the year.

As many as 2.9 lakh have applied under horticulture category, 2.2 lakh under organic farming and 10,000 under fisheries. The response has been very poor under the biofuels category, the officials said.

The respective departments at the taluk level are processing the applications. The government plans to dole out the benefit for 10 lakh small and marginal farmers (owning up to five acres of dry land) with a total outgo of Rs 1,000 crore . As many as 5,600 beneficiaries are selected from each taluk.

The government will have to set aside Rs 5,200 crore for fulling its promise of reaching out to all the 52 lakh small and marginal farmers. Officials said the first instalment of Rs 5,000 per selected applicant will be credited to the beneficiaries’  bank accounts in a month’s time.

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