In a major boost to the rural economy, the Chhattisgarh government has decided to pump in Rs 2,100 crore to disburse bonuses to farmers against paddy procurement in the kharif marketing season of 2016.
The state government on Friday tabled the second supplementary budget in a specially convened one-day session of the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, to seek House approval for spending about Rs 2,100 crore on distribution of bonuses to the farmers. In all, 1.35 million farmers would be benefitted.
The farmers would be entitled to get a bonus of Rs 300 a quintal each against 6.9 million tonnes of paddy sold to the state government in the kharif marketing season 2016.
"The bonus will be a breather for the farmers as a major part of the state is reeling under severe drought this year," Chief Minister Raman Singh said.
The state government brought in the second supplementary budget by convening the special session of the state assembly as it wanted to bring relief to farmers ahead of the Diwali festival, he added.
Singh said the farmers would be getting bonuses next year too for the paddy sold during the current kharif marketing season 2017. "For the state government, paddy procurement was top on the priority and it was taking all measures in the interest of the farmers," he said, adding that the state had prepared the roadmap to double farmer’s income by 2022, as envisioned by the Prime Minister.
Singh said the state was purchasing paddy worth Rs 11,000 crore from farmers now while the state's budget size was just Rs 6,000 crore when Chhattisgarh came into being in 2000.
The opposition Congress flayed the state government accusing it of not being serious on the issue of bonus. "If the state government was really serious, it would have announced the bonus during the monsoon session of the state assembly concluded last month," Congress legislator and party's state president Bhupesh Baghel said.
Baghel claimed the state government was providing bonuses to limited farmers and wantd it to provide for the entire yield produced in the state. "We would have extend full support had the state government announced bonus for the last three years," Baghel added.
After the day-long debate, the House passed the secondary supplementary budget by voice vote.