Hyderabad: Under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, the loan extended to farmers has been enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh or 75 per cent of the value of the pledged stock, whichever is less. Farmers need not mortgage their land to avail the loan, they can simply keep their agricultural produce in godowns and avail interest free loan up to 180 days.
“This facility is being given to prevent the farmers from distress sale”, said Marketing Minister T Harish Rao.
Replying to a question by Dr Palla Rajeshwar Reddy and Naradasu Laxman Rao (TRS), he informed the Legislative Council on Wednesday that godowns were being constructed on scientific lines for storage of agricultural stock of farmers under the Rythu Bandhu scheme to avail loan. Wide publicity through erection of hoardings was being given by the market committees to create awareness among the farmers about the scheme.
During 2014-15, interest free loan of Rs 1,024.76 lakh was provided to 857 farmers. In 2015-16, a sum of Rs 1,100.04 lakh was given to 954 farmers. During 2016-17, up to December 26, the government provided Rs 1,500 lakh to 1,204 farmers, Rao said.
He agreed with P Sudhakar Reddy, of Congress, that the demonetisation had impacted the farmers. However, the government had come to their rescue by providing micro ATMs and RTGS (Real-time gross settlement systems) facility to transact business. Provision was also made for on the spot opening of new bank accounts and issuance of credit/debit cards to the farmers, the Minister said.
He said that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had written to the Centre to supply small denomination notes to Telangana. The Agriculture Department too had asked the Centre for raising of withdrawal limits in banks.
However, Leader of Opposition, Muhammed Ali Shabbir, said that his own cheque is pending in the bank situated in the Assembly premises. “If this is the case with an elected representative in Hyderabad, what is the position of the farmers in villages”, he asked, and urged the government to provide net cash to farmers to carry out their agricultural operations.