A direct benefit transfer scheme prepared by the agriculture ministry was meant to be an atonement for the betrayal of farmers and the inability to deliver on the promise of betterment of their lives. It got stuck for 2 key reasons: government had to find the resources and the scheme benefited landed farmers but ignored the landless farmers. The scheme proposed DBT of Rs 4,000 per acre (capped at Rs 10,000 per annum) per season plus zero interest farm loans up to Rs 1 lakh. Its bill of Rs 2.28 lakh crore has deterred the Centre from making the announcement.
However, the Centre may now add a minimum guarantee schemefor the poor farmer to cater to the landless farming community and cover the entire rural hinterland.
These will be over and above the programmes to link farm to fork to ensure the best price of the produce to farmers, including processing, using technology to link Mandis and farmers’ markets. The announcement is now likely before or during Budget.