While Madhya Pradesh recorded the second highest decline of farmer suicides in the country, agriculture activists and farm experts said Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme had a major role in the declining number of farmers resorting to suicided in the state.
GV Ramanjaneyulu of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture agreed that Rythu Bandhu had helped the farmers to some extent. “Also, many farmers shifted to crops having the minimum support price, primarily cotton and paddy. To comprehend the stress in the agriculture sector, it is necessary to consider suicides of not just farmers, but also of farm labourers and others closely involved with cultivation,” he said.
Telangana began implementing Rythu Bandhu from October 2018. The first-ever direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for farmers in the country was soon followed by other states like West Bengal and Odisha. For that matter, in these three years, no farmer suicides were reported in West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand and north-eastern states.
Only a few farmers received the benefit because all were not covered by institutional credit. Telangana also has a state-level farm debt waiver scheme, but the scheme was implemented for farmers who owed up to Rs 25,000 to banks in this season.