Telangana waives ₹5,809 crore loans of 9 lakh farmers, as KTR asks them to choose KCR or ‘vultures’

The Telangana government has so far waived ₹7,753 crore of loans for 16.16 lakh farmers, and plans to forego all farm loans by 15 September.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Aug 15, 2023 | 1:24 AM Updated Aug 15, 2023 | 1:25 AM

File photo of Telangana Chief Minister and BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao.

With the Telangana Assembly elections drawing closer, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao appears to be hastening the implementation of welfare schemes which he had announced.

As part of it, the Telangana government on Monday, 14 August, waived loans of up to ₹1 lakh of 9.02 lakh farmers in the state at one go on the eve of Independence Day.

This, even as his son and Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Monday asked farmers to choose between political vultures who wanted to feed on them and the “Rythu Bandhu” (friend of farmers), who takes care of their interests.

The hint was obviously towards his father KCR, whose political outfit — the BRS — has already put out the Lok Sabah election slogan “Ab Ki Baar, Kisan Sarkar”.

Also read: Telangana assures help for farmers affected by unseasonal rains

Farm loan waiver

As the farm loan waiver scheme is considered an electoral milch cow, it appears the chief minister is acting posthaste in the implementation of the scheme.

He is all set to clear loans of all farmers in the state by the middle of September, making them feel that they are indebted to him.

The chief minister is finding the going easy, as the government’s cash registers are ringing thanks to not only cash flowing in from the auction of expensive land in Hyderabad but also the increase in the collection of taxes due to a surging economy.

By waiving the second tranche of farm loans on Monday, the Telangana treasury performed a fete of sorts. It made the highest-ever payment in history, by transferring ₹5,809 crore to the bank accounts of more than 9 lakh farmers who had taken loans of up to ₹99,999 from banks.

Finance Minister T Harish Rao said that this would be a moment to cherish in the history of Independent India, where loan waiver was done for so many farmers at one go.

He tweeted: “This transaction not only showcases that the promises made by BRS party in the manifesto are kept but also reinforces Chief Minister Shri KCR garu’s commitment to a “farmer first” approach. Farmers never had to wait in queue or rely on middlemen to get money be it for Farm loan waiver, Rythu Bandhu or Rythu Bima.
#ThankYouKCR [sic]”

Till now, the state government has waived ₹7,753 crore of loans taken by 16.16 lakh farmers. The decision to waive the farm loans was taken at a high-level meeting held at the state secretariat by KCR on 2 August.

The chief minister set a deadline of 15 September to complete the waiver of loans of up to ₹1 lakh.

On the first day of the resumption of the waiver of farm loans, the government waived borrowings of up to ₹41,000 for 62,758 farmers.

Also read: Debts mount as welfare schemes elude tenant farmers

KTR attacks Congress

Meanwhile, Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Monday asked farmers to choose between “political vultures” who wanted to feed on them and the “Rythu Bandhu” who takes care of their interests.

Addressing a huge public meeting at Yellareddy in the Kamareddy district after laying the foundation stone and inaugurating development works in the district, KTR, who is also the working president of the BRS, said he wanted farmers to keep in mind whether the Congress had ensured power supply to the farm sector to their satisfaction though it was in power for 50 years in the state.

He asked the farmers to recollect how intermittent or absent the power supply to their borewells used to be before the creation of Telangana state and how it was now.

The Congress, which could not properly distribute fertilisers or seeds, was now speaking highly about the farm sector, he added.

“There were instances of seeds being distributed to farmers at police stations when the Congress was in power. In its rule, transformers used to blow up and pump sets used to burn out. The lands used to remain fallow. Those were the days of acute famine,” claimed KTR.

“But the situation has changed dramatically. Telangana has a canopy of green cover now. The underground water table has risen. There is power supply to farm wells round the clock and there is no dearth of irrigation to farmlands,” he said.

KTR said that the farmers are now at crossroads. They should decide who they should support. “KCR is giving you water for three crops. He is providing power supply 24 x 7. The Congress says three hours of power supply is enough. The BJP leaders always talk about Hindus and Muslims. It is time for the farmers to decide who they should elect, he said.

Referring to the Congress’ assertion that it would wind up the Dharani portal after coming to power, the BRS leader said that if the people supported the Congress, it would again bring back the middlemen’s dispensation.

“They will scrap the Rythu Bandhu, Dalita Bandhu, and BC Bandu schemes. There will be a kumbhamela of scams. Remember the days when you had to fight for water? Just recollect the nightmare the Congress was. Do you want the return of the Congress days?” he asked.

Dharani portal: Pride of BRS, bane for citizens, ammo for Opposition

Taking on BJP

Training his guns at the BJP at the Centre, he said that Narendra Modi as the prime minister had done nothing for the people. The price of LPG cylinder was about ₹1,200 now, he noted.

Modi should be taught a lesson using the vote as a weapon, he said. The BJP should lose its security deposit in Yellareddy, added KTR.

The centre was responsible for the hike in fuel prices, which has led to the skyrocketing of the prices of essential commodities, he charged.

It was time to drive away the Congress and the BJP, which had made people suffer, said KTR, adding that it was possible by supporting KCR.