The Telangana government has released Rs 5,925 crore for the second phase of the Rythu Bandhu scheme for the rabi season. This is part of the Rs 11,925 crore allocated in the 2018-19 Budget for the scheme that seeks to provide financial assistance of Rs 4,000 each to farmers for every acre they own.

The scheme is aimed at providing liquidity to farmers, to take care of the purchase of inputs ahead of the agricultural season. Disbursals for the kharif season were completed last month. The second phase of disbursals, aimed at providing financial assistance for the rabi season, is expected to kick off next month.

The state government issued an order on Saturday sanctioning Rs 5,925 crore to the Department of Agriculture. This would complete utilisation of budgetary allocations for the scheme. The government chose to hand over the money through cheques, and not through direct transfer into the bank accounts of the farmers.

The government, however, attracted sharp criticism from the Opposition parties and farmers’ unions for excluding tenant farmers and adivasi farmers (who practise ‘shift cultivation’) from the financial assistance scheme.

The government argued that tenant farmers could not be included as they did not own the land. The farmers’ unions, however, argued that it was tenant farmers who needed financial assistance as the cost of production for them was much higher than for the land-owning farmers.