KCR promises Rs 1 lakh farm loan waiver; doubling of pension

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao Tuesday assured Rs 1 lakh farm loan waiver, besides increasing assistance under the Rytu Bandhu scheme to Rs 10,000 per annum from the current Rs 8,000 if the TRS was voted to power once again.

Announcing some of the important points of the Telangana Rashtra Samitis manifesto for the 7 December assembly polls, he said the pension amount would be double and the eligible age limit reduced to 57 years from the existing 65.

As soon as we came to power in 2014, we realised that farmers of the state have to be supported. As part of that, we announced farm loan waiver of Rs 1 lakh in the run up to the elections. As promised, we implemented it. However, as the farmers need further support, the TRS felt the scheme should be implemented once again and so announced the present loan waiver programme, which would be done in one or two instalments.

The complete manifesto was still being worked out and yet to be announced, he said. “People are anxious to know TRSs manifesto. So we have announced a partial manifesto,” he said. The TRS government has waived Rs 1 lakh farm loan by spending over Rs 17,000 crore in four instalments.

There are about 45 lakh farmers who avail bank loans, of which nearly 42 lakh took loans of less than Rs 1 lakh, he said, justifying Rs 1 lakh ceiling for loan waiver. Under the scheme, an assistance of Rs 8,000 an acre to all eligible farmers in two instalments of Rs 4,000 each.

The first instalment was distributed to farmers in May and the second tranche will be given in November. “Rytu Bandhu scheme will be increased to Rs 10,000 per annum in two instalments of Rs 5,000 per acre, he said. On the pension scheme, KCR said under Aasara Scheme, the amount would be increased to Rs 2,016 per individual from the existing Rs 1,000.

Similarly, pension for the physically challenged would also be doubled to Rs 3,016 from the existing Rs 1,500. The Chief Minister also promised an allowance of Rs 3,016 for unemployed youth. He however said the modalities were being worked out for the scheme.

He said a committee has been formed under deputy Chief Minister K Srihari to work out various programmes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, amounting to Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 6,000 crore, respectively. Rao said the double bedroom housing scheme would be continued with more vigour and some more options would also included in the scheme.

He said the manifesto was being prepared after taking inputs from over 300 suggestions that the manifesto committee received. Rao said the state expected to register Rs 10.30 lakh crore revenue in the next five years from all quarters. Of this amount, Rs 2.30 lakh crore would go towards debt servicing, he said.

The Congress, in its reaction, alleged that TRS had copied the main points of its manifesto and announced it. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded that the chief minister apologise to the people for not implementing the same schemes he announced, during the past four years.

“He (KCR) copied all our schemes. He ridiculed us when we announced farm loan waiver and pension schemes. We promised Rs 3,000 pension. Now he says he will give Rs 3,016. He should apologise to the people on why he did not increase pension in the past four years. He has indirectly admitted that his party will be defeated,” Reddy said at a press conference.

Reddy said Rao and TRS leaders had made fun of the congress leadership, saying Telangana needs more than the combined budget of all the southern states to fulfill promises being made by the party. “Now how come you realise your folly and are making all these promises? You accepted your defeat by copying our manifesto, Reddy said.

Alleging that 4,500 farmers committed suicide during TRS rule, the TPCC chief demanded an apology from the Chief Minister for not visiting even a single ‘bereaved family.’

Alleging that the TRS rule proved ‘disastrous’ for farmers in the state, Congress had earlier claimed if voted to power after the 7 December assembly elections, it would bring the much needed change in the lives of farmers. The TPCC Chief said his party would waive crop loans up to Rs two lakh if voted to power.