The Election Commission (EC) has declared that disbursements under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme for rabi crops in Telangana will be halted until the cessation of the Model Code of Conduct in all its forms. This decision comes as a setback for the Bharat Rashtra Samithi led by K Chandrashekar Rao. The EC withdrew its earlier permission to the Telangana government after a state minister breached the model code by publicly announcing financial aid for farmers.
The EC initially allowed the Telangana government, led by KCR, to distribute rabi installments during the model code of conduct period, with certain conditions, including not publicizing the disbursement during the poll code, given the upcoming elections on November 30. However, following a public announcement by the state finance minister about the imminent release of disbursements, the EC decided to withdraw its permission.
In response to a Congress request to restrict the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) from mentioning the Rythu Bandhu amount in their campaign, the EC, on November 24, had permitted the state government to disburse the amount before November 28. The Congress alleged that BRS leaders were using the EC’s approval as a tool to influence voters.
Despite the EC’s clearance, confusion arose over the distribution dates due to bank holidays and Election Commission directives. The state agriculture department stated that the funds would be deposited in farmers’ bank accounts through the Direct Benefit Transfer method. Approximately 70 lakh farmers are expected to benefit from the Rythu Bandhu Scheme in the current rabi season.
The Rythu Bandhu Scheme, initiated by the Telangana government in 2018, is a welfare program providing ₹5,000 per acre of land as farm investment to 58 lakh farmers in the state for two crops each year. This direct farmer investment support scheme, also known as the Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme (FISS), is the first of its kind in the country. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao allocated ₹12,000 crore from the state budget for the implementation of the scheme.