State govt to give NREGA cash benefits to farmers

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has started a crackdown after discovering that individual farmers have not been availing benefits they are entitled to under the rural employment scheme. DH file photo

Severe drought coupled with a non-starter crop loan waiver has prompted the state government to work aggressively toward giving cash benefits to small and marginal farmers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has started a crackdown after discovering that individual farmers have not been availing benefits they are entitled to under the rural employment scheme.

"Most people, including our own officers, were unaware that a farmer can get Rs 80,000 per hectare for having planted a crop like a banana. This, more or less, recovers the entire investment and acts as a huge risk mitigant,” Gowda said. “There are 20 such crops with which farmers can get money under NREGA. Mango can fetch them Rs 30,000 per hectare, guava Rs 40,000 per hectare and mulberry over Rs 1 lakh per hectare.”

Gowda has been taking officials to task for not making sure NREGA benefits to farmers growing horticulture crops such as papaya, pomegranate, lemon and naseberry. The government is also keen to give farmers NREGA benefits by getting them to take up projects such as building bunds, farm ponds, borewell recharge structures and so on.

The NREGA manual that details benefits can be given to SC/ST farmers, BPL farmers among others, with a footnote that even small and marginal farmers can be covered. “Our people interpreted that only small and marginal farmers can be given NREGA benefits,” he said.

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State govt to give NREGA cash benefits to farmers

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