New Delhi: On former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary, the Congress unveiled the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana (RGKNY), which will be implemented by the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh.
Under the scheme, up to Rs 10,000 per acre a year will be transferred into the bank accounts of farmers and the first instalment totalling Rs 1,500 crore was transferred by Baghel to 19 lakh farmers during the launch, which happened via video conference. The state has provisioned Rs 5,750 crore for the scheme.
Party president Sonia Gandhi, who was present at the launch, said, “Such schemes should be implemented at the ground level to help bring a change in the lives of people. This is a revolutionary scheme and is a true tribute to Rajiv Gandhi. This is a big step taken in line with the values of Rajiv Gandhi.”
Baghel said that 90% of farmers who benefit from the scheme will be small and marginal farmers. “The Chhattisgarh government has set the example for the country on how to help people in the time of crisis,” he said.
This scheme, although it carries a similar name, is quite different from the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) which was part of the Congress manifesto prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. At that time, the party had said that it will ensure that each family in the country will be guaranteed a minimum income of Rs 72,000 a year if it was voted to power. However, that never came to pass and the intricacies of the scheme were never needed to be worked out.
2019’s NYAY resembled, but wasn’t quite, the idea of a universal basic income (UBI). Now, with the RGKNY is Chhattisgarh, the Congress has announced something quite different. It has moved away from its 2019 promise of ensuring that each household earns at least Rs 72,000 a year.
This scheme will be used to pay the difference in minimum support price (MSP) set by the Chhattisgarh government for three crops – paddy, maize and sugarcane. These MSPs, or assured price in the case of sugarcane, are substantially higher than the MSPs set by the Centre – which, as Dheeraj Mishra of The Wire has reported, were set substantially lower than the MSPs that the states wanted to be set.
However, despite setting the MSPs higher, the Chhattisgarh government had not paid farmers the higher amount as the Centre had disallowed it.
Now, the Baghel led government is hoping to make amends through the redesigned NYAY – the RGKNY.
Under the scheme, the difference of the amount realised by farmers through the Centre’s MSP and the MSP set by the state government will be paid through a per acre mechanism where a yield of 15 quintals per acre will be assumed.
So, if a farmer has sold 15 quintals, it will be assumed that she has one acre of land and will be transferred Rs 10,000 per year by the state government.
The BJP has accused the Congress of going back on its promise of paying higher MSP to farmers. “On one hand, the state government is grappling with the Corona crisis while on the other, it is again on the path of betraying farmers by not making a one-time payment for paddy procurements,” former Chhattisgarh chief minister and BJP national vice-president, Raman Singh, told ThePrint.