Bhopal: Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, a brainchild of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is reportedly now being seen as a viable alternative by the Centre and various states ruled by the BJP to rein-in growing farm distress.
The Centre’s inclination towards the scheme was bolstered by recent meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Chouhan in New Delhi in which the latter gave a detailed presentation on the scheme.
Chouhan reportedly pitched for 50:50 budget sharing between the Centre and states on this.
“NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chandra had discussed the scheme with me and wished to study the scheme in detail while applauding it,” Chouhan tweeted later.
“States including Maharashtra, UP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana have shown interest in the scheme,” an officer in the state secretariat said. Officers of UP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra have already visited Madhya Pradesh to know more about the scheme and its implications.
The MP government was rattled by a massive farmers’ protest in the month of June in 2017, especially after five farmers were killed in police firing during protest in Mandsaur district. In order to curb farmers’ discontent, mostly over falling farm prices, MP government had come out with a slew of measures, the most notable of them being Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, launched by Chouhan in Bhopal on Oct 11, 2017.
The innovative scheme transfers cash in the bank accounts of farmers in case the model rate of any crop is less than the Minimum Support Price. For calculating the Model Rate (MR) for any particular crop, data of rates are taken from union ministry for agriculture and existing rates in mandis of MP and two nearby states.
BJP, after witnessing vehement farmers’ protest in MP, had witnessed similar scenes in Rajasthan. The party also fared badly in rural pockets in just concluded Gujarat Assembly polls.
Highly placed sources in the Centre claim that the central government is weighing options to offer incentives to state governments where the crop prices fall below the MSP and Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana is one of them.
However, the scheme has been constantly bashed by opposition and farmers as well who describe it as damp squib and eyewash.
Interestingly, procurement prices at mandis had fallen steeply after the scheme was announced.
Vishnu Patidar, a farmer from Shajapur, claimed that since the inception of the scheme, the prices have plummeted. “Recently soybean was fetching Rs 2600 a quintal in mandis but now it is sold at Rs 2000 to 2200 per quintal,” he alleged.
Senior Congress leaders including Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and others have continuously slammed Bhavantar scheme.