Cabinet nod to double farmers' aid to Rs 10,000
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fulfilled her poll promise given to the state's agrarian society with the Cabinet on Thursday approving the increase of benefits under the Krishak Bandhu Prakalpa for each farmer to Rs 10,000 per year.
At least 62 lakh farmers in the state would reap the benefits of increasing the financial assistance by Rs 4,000 each in one go.
This comes when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to keep his pre-poll assurance of releasing the arrear amounts of Rs 18,000 to each beneficiary soon after the elections under the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme. It was on May 14 that the Prime Minister had announced sanction of only the first instalment amounting to Rs 2,000 for around seven lakh farmers of the state. He also drew flak from different quarters for ignoring Bengal — to which the Prime Minister had proposed to turn 'Sonar Bangla' — by not inviting the state even to attend the PM-Kisan fund release programme. He had not even interacted with a single beneficiary from the agrarian society in the state that was given the benefit for the first time after much effort from the Chief Minister's side.
Initially, after it was introduced in January 2019, each farmer having one acre or more land used to get Rs 4,000 per year. Later, while announcing the Budget for 2021-22, the state Finance minister had announced of increasing it to Rs 6,000 bringing it at par with that of the Centre's PM-Kisan. While releasing the election manifesto, Banerjee announced that the amount will be increased to Rs 10,000 after the formation of her government for the third consecutive term.
Sources in the state Secretariat confirmed that the Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod in this regard. As a result, the farmers with one or more acre of land will get Rs 10,000 per year in two instalments while those with less than 1 acre will receive Rs 4,000, which was Rs 2,000 earlier. The death benefit under the scheme will remain constant to Rs 2 lakh.
The Cabinet meeting, headed by Banerjee, was also attended by state Panchayats minister Subrata Mukherjee, Transport minister Firhad Hakim, Power minister Aroop Biswas, state Fire minister Sujit Bose, and state Cooperation minister Arup Roy. State's Finance minister Amit Mitra attended the meeting virtually.
The state Agriculture department is also spending Rs 1.20 crore to set up community seed beds on 920 acres of land to develop salt-tolerant paddy saplings for agricultural lands that have gone under saline water due to Cyclone Yaas. It is getting developed on 320 acres in South 24-Parganas and 300 acres each in East Midnapore and North 24-Parganas. The salt variant seeds include Nona Subarna, Nonashree, Pratikshya, Dhirem, Kalma, Jarava, Rupashal and Hamai.