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'PM's rehab package not reaching deserving farmers'

Last Updated : 24 May 2012, 19:54 IST
Last Updated : 24 May 2012, 19:54 IST

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Implementation of the Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package for farmers in suicide-prone districts in the State has come a cropper.

The government has failed to spend allocations made for the payment of ex gratia amount to distressed families of farmers and distribution of certified seeds, according to an evaluation study.

The study conducted by professors M J Bhende and P Thippaiah of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, has also noted that the government has disbursed the ex gratia amount to ‘rich farmers’ and not to the actual beneficiaries. The study was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra too.

The report says the State government has disbursed Rs 1.77 crore of the total allocation of Rs three crore towards ex gratia by the Centre. A total of 4,570 families from six districts –– Belgaum, Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Hassan, Kodagu and Shimoga –– received the payment by March 2009.

The average amount of ex gratia paid ranged from Rs 2,420 in Chitradurga to Rs 10,000 per beneficiary in Hassan. The field survey revealed collusion between local leaders and government officials, which had led to wealthy farmers receiving ex gratia payment bypassing the poor.

The study said that almost all the beneficiaries in the State had reported that they had not received payments for purchase of feed for rearing calves. “Some of the beneficiaries were either office-bearers of milk cooperative societies or had some connections with officials in the Karnataka Milk Federation or the officials from the Animal Husbandry Department,” the study said.

The experts said that most of the farmers in the suicide-prone districts benefited from one or the other scheme of the PM package. However, “the existing policy ‘penalises’ the borrowers who promptly repay loans. The government should not waive the loans of all the borrowers and should pursue the policy of selective loan waiver based on socio-economic condition of the farmer,” they suggested.

The entire package involved Rs 16,978.69 crore consisting of Rs 10,579.43 crore (62.31 pc) as subsidy/grants and Rs 6,399.26 crore (37.69 pc) as loans.

A sum of Rs 9650.55 crore (56.84 pc) was allotted to Andhra Pradesh, Rs 2689.64 crore (15.84 pc) to Karnataka, Rs 765.24 crore (4.51 pc) to Kerala and Rs 3873.26 crore (22.81 pc) to Maharashtra.

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Published 24 May 2012, 19:54 IST

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