KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday relaunched her government's Krishak Bandhu scheme, doubling the assistance to farmer- beneficiaries to Rs 10,000 a year.
She said that day labourers in farmlands and share croppers in possession of at least one katha (0.0165 acre) of land will now receive Rs 4,000 a year, instead of Rs 2,000 they used to get earlier.
Banerjee also said that the respective boards of the state on Friday will announce the evaluation process for examinations of classes 10 and 12, that have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
"Our (Krishak Bandhu) project is more inclusive than the Centre's (PM-Kisan scheme). People having small patches of farmland are not included in the Central project. We think about every section of the farming community," the chief minister told a press conference.
The Krishak Bandhu scheme, launched in 2018, used to provide farmers having one or more acres of landholding with an annual amount of Rs 5,000 (minimum Rs 2,000 per annum assistance on pro-rata basis).
Under the PM-Kisan scheme, Rs 6,000 per year in three equal instalments is provided to small and marginal farmer families having a combined landholding of up to two hectares.
Around 2.47 acres make one hectare.
The chief minister said that Rs 290 crore was released by her government on Thursday for 9.78 lakh farmers for providing the assistance as part of the Krishak Bandhu scheme.
The West Bengal Cabinet on June 10 gave its green signal to increase the assistance to farmer-beneficiaries from Rs 5,000 per acre per year to Rs 10,000 under the scheme.
Around 68.38 lakh small and marginal farmers will be benefitted from it.
Banerjee claimed that West Bengal is an exception from many other parts of the country where farmers die regularly and have to agitate on road for over six months.
Stating that her government has so far spent a huge amount as insurance premium for the farmers, she said, "After the death of a farmer, we give Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin."
Banerjee told reporters that the state government has provided 70 lakh Kisan Credit Cards to farmers and 20 lakh more such cards will be given in future to help them buy equipment.
In a Twitter post, she said, "I am happy to announce that GoWB is relaunching the #KrishakBandhu Scheme by doubling the annual financial support for all farmers & share-croppers.
"Farmers will now receive an increased financial support from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for one acre or more of cultivable land."
She said that about 2 lakh Cyclone Yaas affected farmers were being given 'Nona Swarna Dhaan' kit comprising high yield saline water proof paddy seeds and other items required for growing paddy on the land submerged by sea waters in South and North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts.
In the press conference held at the state secretariat, she said, "Not a single rupee has been received from the Centre as compensation for the damage caused by the cyclone which battered the state less than a month back.
The evaluation method for Madhyamik (class 10) and Uchcha Madhyamik (class 12) will be announced by the respective boards on June 18, a week after the exams were cancelled.
Based on the evaluation, results will be announced by July, she said.
The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education conducts the Madhyamik while the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education holds the Uchcha Madhyamik exams.
On Wednesday night's downpour which lashed the city inundating areas, she said, "Kolkata didn't see such rain in recent times with 179 mm rainfall recorded within a few hours."
The administrations of districts like Hooghly, Howrah, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Bardhaman were asked to be on guard as neighbouring states release water from barrages during heavy rains, Banerjee said.
"We are also keeping a tab on the water level of the Ganga which is swollen. That is why it is taking time for water to recede from waterlogged areas," she added.