Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu and Odisha's KALIA way better than PM-KISAN

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 01, 2019

The Rythu Bandhu of Telangana has no bar on the extent of land one should own.   -  GN RAO

When Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) that seeks to provide an annual grant of ₹6,000 to farmers, it immediately draws comparison to Telangana's Rythu Bandhu. One also weighs it with Rythu Bandhu's clones in Odisha and West Bengal, which are yet to be rolled out.

There are several differences between the Central farmers’ financial scheme and the scheme that is in vogue in Telangana in the last two cropping seasons.

While the Central scheme has a cap of two hectares to make a farmer eligible for the scheme, the Rythu Bandhu of Telangana has no bar on the extent of land one should own. The State, however, had restricted the acreage to 50 acres in the Rabi season for Rythu Bandhu payouts. Capping the acreage at five acres would be disadvantageous to farmers in the rain fed areas, where the farmers, even if they have more land, would still require financial assistance.

Another major difference is both the quantum of the help and how it is distributed. As against the Centre’s ₹6,000 in three equal installments, farmers get ₹8,000 in two installments ahead of the Kharif and Rabi in Telangana.

The KCR government has promised to increase the assistance to ₹10,000 from this year.


Piyush Goyal has said that the amount will directly be credited to the bank accounts of farmers, leaving no scope for any intermediary.

The KCR government, however, chooses to hand over the cheques through people's representatives. (The Rabi disbursement, however, happened through direct transfer as the election code was in force.)

On tenant farmers

The Central scheme is yet to be evolved. Rules need to be formalised. As of now, it's not clear whether the PM-KISAN would include tenant farmers in the scheme.

Keeping in view the concerns around ownership vis-à-vis tenant farmers, the Telangana government chose to keep tenant farmers out of the purview of Rythu Bandhu.

“The Centre seems to have done no homework before announcing the scheme,” GV Ramanjaneyulu, the Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Sustainabile Agriculture, felt.

Taking a cue from Telangana's Rythu Bandhu, the Odisha government has launched KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation), offering an annual assistance of ₹12,500 each to each to farmers.

Of the four schemes, the Odisha's scheme looks more comprehensive as it covers the landless agricultural labourers too. It also seeks to provide help to vulnerable agricultural households, besides promising interest-free crop loan.

The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal too emulated Rythu Bandhu and announced an annual financial assistance of ₹5,000 in two installments. However, payouts in Odisha and West Bengal are yet to happen.

The schemes in the three States have an insurance component attached to them. While the Telangana Government started an insurance scheme, Rythu Bima, providing a cover of ₹5 lakh, Odisha and West Bengal have embedd the insurance component into the schemes.

Published on February 01, 2019

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