EC stops Telangana farmer aid scheme

EC stops Telangana farmer aid scheme


The Election Commission (EC) withdrew approval for the Telangana government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme on Monday, claiming a violation of the model code of conduct. The poll board withdrew the authorization in its order, citing a violation by State Finance Minister T. Harish Rao.

What are the details of the Rythu Bandhu Scheme?

    • Rythu Bandhu scheme is known as the Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme (FISS). This scheme was implemented by the Government of Telangana. To support the farmers and their investment in two crops for a year.
  • Financial Support:
      • Through this scheme, Farmers are Provided with  ₹5,000 per acre per season 
      • Direct cash transfer for both rabi (winter) and kharif (rainy) seasons.
      • Considered the first direct farmer investment support scheme in India.
  • History:
      • Announced by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao in February 2018.
      • ₹12,000 crores allocated in the 2018-19 state budget.
      • Launched on May 10, 2018, at Dharmarajpalli village in Karimnagar.
  • Scheme Specifications:
    • Each farmer receives $10,000 per year for two crops.
    • There is no acreage limit, which benefits small and marginal farmers.
    • The state has 1.43 crore acres of farmed land and 58.33 lakh farmers.
    • Agriculture employs around 55% of Telangana’s population.

Why did the Election Commission withdraw the permission for Rythu Bandhu?

  • Violations of the Model Code of Conduct:
      • On November 28, State Finance Minister T. Harish Rao issued a statement addressing the disbursement of funds under the Rythu Bandhu scheme.
  • The Election Commission’s Reaction:
      • The Election Commission ruled that the statement violated the standard code of behaviour.
  • Permission Termination:
      • The Election Commission revoked the permit for the Rythu Bandhu scheme due to the violation.
  • Reasons for the Order:
      • According to the Election Commission order, the Minister’s speech not only breached the terms of the model code of conduct but also the commission’s criteria.
  • Disruption to the Level Playing Field:
    • The commission expressed worry that the Minister’s remark, advertising the release under the Rythu Bandhu program, could disrupt the election process’s fair playing field.

What is the role of the Election Commission in levelling the election field?

  • Model Code of Conduct Enforcement:
      • The Model Code of Conduct, a set of standards that political parties and candidates must follow throughout the election season, is enforced by the Election Commission.
      • The code’s goal is to ensure fair competition by prohibiting parties and candidates from engaging in unethical behaviour.
  • Equal Opportunities for Political Parties:
      • The Election Commission aims to ensure that all political parties and candidates participating in elections have equal opportunity.
      • It prohibits any party or candidate from acquiring an unfair advantage.
  • Preventing Power Abuse:
      • The Election Commission takes steps to prevent the election mechanism from being abused.
      • It prevents the ruling party from using state resources to influence voters or gain an undue advantage.
  • Fair Allocation of Election Symbols:
      • The Election Commission is in charge of recognizing political parties and allocating election symbols.
      • It assures that the process of issuing symbols is fair and transparent, preventing any side from gaining a symbolic advantage.
  • Resolution of Disputes:
      • The Election Commission serves as a court in cases involving the recognition of political parties and the allocation of election emblems.
      • It resolves disputes to ensure a level playing field and the fairness of the voting process.
  • Monitoring Campaign Expenditure:
      • During the election campaign, the Election Commission monitors and supervises the expenditure of political parties and candidates.
      • It limits campaign spending to avoid using excessive financial resources to sway voters.
  • Electoral Malpractice Prevention:
      • The Election Commission is tough on electoral malpractices including booth capturing, fake voting, and voter intimidation.
      • It assures that the voting process is free of illicit actions that could jeopardize election fairness.
  • Maintaining Media Neutrality:
    • During elections, the Election Commission attempts to guarantee that media coverage is balanced and unbiased.
    • It monitors media conduct to ensure that no one party or candidate gains an unfair advantage.


In summary, the Election Commission revoked approval for the Telangana Rythu Bandhu plan because the Finance Minister’s statement was deemed a violation of the model code of conduct, potentially jeopardizing the impartiality of the ongoing election process.