The State government has finally announced that money under the Rythu Bandhu scheme for the current kharif season will be credited to the bank accounts of eligible farmers from June 28, ending days of uncertainty over payment though the season had commenced.
The announcement was made by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who directed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to make arrangements for disbursal of money.
The government has allocated ₹14,800 crore to be paid in two instalments of ₹7,400 crore each for kharif and rabi seasons in the current year’s budget. But the announcement of date for crediting the amount has been delayed due to the financial constraints faced by the State since Union Finance Ministry has blocked open market borrowings seeking clarifications from the government on its borrowings, off budget borrowings in particular and whether the government had spent the borrowed amounts as capital expenditure.
Rythu Bandhu has been one of the major welfare schemes of the State government since its commencement in 2018 and the government has been regularly crediting the amounts at the start of kharif and rabi seasons. The government has credited close to ₹7,000 crore in the last kharif between June 15 and 25 while an equal amount was given to farmers in rabi season in January this year.
The government has planed to raise ₹15,000 crore through open market borrowings during the first quarter of the current fiscal, but could borrow only ₹4,000 crore on ad hoc basis. With just one more auction by the Reserve Bank of India left before the end of the month and quarter, the government is yet to get the Union Ministry’s nod to opt for OMBs to meet its immediate financial requirements.
It has to be seen whether the government credit the amounts in all the accounts at one go or whether there would be staggered crediting giving priority to farmers owning from one acre and less to five acres in phases.
Finance department officials are however confident that the government could raise the amount it planned once the Centre gives its nod for OMBs. The amounts shown in the RBI’s calendar of borrowings were only indicative in nature and the State could raise the amounts it needs within the limits of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act norms, they said.
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