Yet another welfare scheme launched in Telangana, this time to provide life insurance cover to farmers with the state government itself footing the premium bill, is a pioneering step in the right direction. The series of measures taken up by the K Chandrasekhar Rao government—from providing free power 24x7 for all farming activities to distributing investment subsidy cheques of `4,000 per acre for two crops each in a year besides ensuring more utilisation of the Godavari and the Krishna for irrigation—should be seen in the backdrop of the agrarian crisis gripping the nation for the last few years.
The Memorandum of Understanding the KCR government signed with the LIC will provide `5 lakh cover to each farmer. The scheme that will come into effect on August 15 will cover around 50 lakh farmers in the 18-60 year age group, with the state government paying `2,271 per head as premium each year. Also, the families of farmers will get the sum assured even in the case of natural death.
While political parties often pay lip service to the Dr M S Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations to make agriculture more profitable to bring dignity to the farmers, KCR in his own way is trying to reach out to them. He has spent more than `17,000 crore towards farmer debt waivers and pumped in funds to complete the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme by the end of this year to utilise the Godavari for irrigating more than 18 lakh acres.
Yet, the fact remains that farmers in the state are unable to get remunerative or minimum support prices for their produce. What needs to be factored in is that Telangana does not have the massive canal-based irrigation facilities enjoyed by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Also, new irrigation schemes launched by KCR still need time to get completed and overcome several legal hurdles as well. However, efforts like providing free power supply and the insurance cover will definitely provide much-needed solace to the farmers who face myriad problems, including the vagaries of the monsoon.