Andhra Govt to go Ahead with DBT of Free Power Scheme for Farmers

The Andhra Govt has decided to go ahead with the DBT of Dr. YSRC free power scheme to farmers, despite heavy criticism from the opposition parties.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to go ahead with the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Dr. YSRC free power scheme to farmers, despite heavy criticism from the opposition parties.

Energy minister Balineni Srinivas Reddy has reportedly directed the officials of his department to prepare an action plan by involving farmers to roll out the scheme. As reported by ET, the scheme will be launched in the Srikakulam district on a pilot basis. The state government is planning to roll out the scheme across the state from April 1, 2021.

As part of the scheme, electric meters will be installed to all agriculture connections and the money will be transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers based on their consumption. Unlike in the present system, the farmers had to pay the bill for the power they consumed on agriculture and later the government will reimburse the same.

The AP government argued that the new reform that is going to be implemented will empower the farmers to question power utilities to supply qualitative power to agriculture.

Reddy said in a statement that the DBT will improve productivity, enhance rural productivity and improve the living standards of farmers. Adding that the reforms in the power sector were initiated by the Union government and the state government has taken all measures to safeguard the interests of farmers. He said the farmers need not pay anything from their pockets as the state government will deposit the entire amount into their accounts.

As the farmers are now paying the bills, it will certainly enhance accountability and responsibility among power utilities to supply quality power to the farmers, he said.

He said that it was necessary to install meters so that the farmers would know how much is spent on free power. This would also prevent power utilities from transferring their losses to farmers’ subsidy account and ensure transparency with regard to power purchases, wastage and supply losses.

Reddy said that the state government will not impose any restrictions on the number of agriculture connections. He assured to regularise all unauthorised connections and to include them in the DBT scheme. He also said that the benefit will also be extended to tenant farmers by opening separate bank accounts and the bankers will be given instructions not to adjust the amount for any other dues.

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