NEW DELHI: With 10 states of the country reeling under drought, President Pranab Mukherjee has recommended for consideration a private member’s bill that seeks to create an initial corpus fund of Rs 10,000 crore for the protection of farmers in arid and drought-prone areas.
The unusual move will lead to the reintroduction of the Farmers of Arid and Desert Areas (Welfare and Other Special Provisions) Bill, 2014 in the Upper House, originally introduced by senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in December 2014.
If enacted, the Bill will require expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. Under the rules, for such a Bill to be converted into a law by Parliament, a recommendation from the President of India to the House is required. So, earlier this week, Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh wrote to the Secretary General, Rajya Sabha, stating the President’s recommendation under Article 117(3) of the Constitution.
“It is estimated a sum of Rs 20,000 crore may be involved as recurring expenditure per annum. A non-recurring expenditure of Rs 5,000 crore may also be involved from the Consolidated Fund of India. A non-recurring expenditure of Rs 5,000 crore may also be involved,” the Financial Memorandum of the Bill says. Clause 6 of the bill makes it mandatory for the Centre to provide requisite funds to the states concerned while Clause 5 provides for certain welfare measures to be undertaken by appropriate governments.