Implementation of the Prime Minister's Rehabilitation Package for farmers in suicide-prone districts of four States is ineffective and the Karnataka government has failed to make allocations for ex-gratia payment to distressed farmers, according to an evaluation study.
The evaluation study on implementation of the rehabilitation package in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, noted that a good number of better-off households had availed themselves of the benefits under the ex-gratia scheme.
The evaluation conducted by professors M.J. Bhende and P. Thippaiah noted that “Karnataka could use a little more than 59 per cent of the total assistance of Rs. 3 crore received for ex-gratia payment to distressed farmers”.
The package, which was announced on July 1, 2006, was implemented in six districts each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, three in Kerala and 16 districts of Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, it was implemented in Belgaum, Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Hassan, Kodagu and Shimoga.
Under ex-gratia payment, the State government disbursed Rs. 1.77 crore of the Rs. 3 crore. In all, 4,570 families from six districts received the payment by March 2009. The average ex-gratia payment disbursed ranged from Rs. 2,420 in Chitradurga to Rs. 10,000 per beneficiary in Hassan. Owing to alleged collusion between local leaders and government officials, many rich farmers received ex-gratia payment bypassing the poor, the professors said.
The Union government sanctioned Rs. 50 lakh per district for payment of ex-gratia to the families of distressed farmers for meeting contingent expenditure on healthcare and education needs of their children.
The study noted that a few small and marginal farmers had purchased subsidised certified seeds from raitha samparka kendras and sold them to large farmers at some premium. Delay in the supply of seeds and inadequate infrastructure (cold storages, transport and market) were major constraints faced by farmers in these districts.
Under the package, Rs. 9,650.55 crore has been allocated to Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 2,689.64 crore to Karnataka, Rs. 765.24 crore to Kerala and Rs. 3,873.26 crore to Maharashtra. The State government waived interest on farm loans amounting to Rs. 639.75 crore, benefiting over 4.29 lakh farmers in six districts. Very few farmers opted for fresh loans, the study said.
It said that almost all the beneficiaries in Karnataka had reported that they had not received payments for purchase of feed for rearing calves. Prof. Bhende and Prof. Thippaiah said most of the farmers in the suicide-prone districts benefited from one scheme or the other under the package. “However, the existing policy “penalises” the borrowers who promptly repay loans. The government should not waive the loans of all the borrowers and should pursue the policy of selective loan waiver based on the socio-economic condition of the farmer,” they said.
The package, announced on July 1, 2006, was implemented in six districts Rich farmers received ex-gratia payment bypassing the poor, says study
The package, announced on July 1, 2006, was implemented in six districts
Rich farmers received ex-gratia payment bypassing the poor, says study