Bengaluru: Farmers in Karntaka were in for a shock when they received a compensation of Rupee 1 for damaged crops in their bank accounts.
However, the Congress government in the state was quick to rebut claims that the paltry relief was a mistake, saying this was a ‘test case' to check authenticity of accounts after they were linked to Aadhaar recently.
Farmers in Vijapura, Dharwad, Hassan and Koppal districts said on Friday that one rupee was credited to their bank accounts by the State Revenue Department.
The Congress, which has been severely critical of the BJP governments’ insensitivity towards farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, has now come under fire from the opposition.A farmer's bank passbook shows that Rupee 1 was credited to his account on June 6.
“These payments were made by the National Payments Corporation of India on a test check basis on June 6 (as part of direct benefit transfer). Once the tests prove that the right beneficiaries are getting the money, the entire compensation will be paid to them,” a revenue department statement said, hours after the issue was raked up in the State Assembly by the Opposition.
“About 21.9 lakh farmers have already been given a compensation of 1,459 crores,” the revenue department release added.
Earlier in the day, the BJP had slammed the Congress leaders for their hypocrisy on farmer issues. “The government must be ashamed of itself for treating farmers like beggars," BJP’s Jagadish Shettar said.
Some farmers have suffered losses running into lakhs of rupees after crops went dry in the last drought. Karnataka has seen successive droughts for six cropping seasons and farmers have been seeking compensation from the government.
Animal Husbandry Minister A Manju also offered the explanation of “testing the account authenticity” as Aadhaar-linking was completed recently.
“Aadhaar linking has been done for one lakh accounts. However, paying compensation to farmers is not done directly by us, it is done by the National Payment Corporation of India. Our job is only to identify how many account-holders are there, what is the quantum of crop loss for each farmer and how much compensation is he eligible for,” he told reporters.
When asked whether depositing Rupee 1 in one lakh accounts for a trial was not a waste of the exchequer's money, Karnataka's agriculture minister, Krishna Byre Gowda said, "That is better than depositing lakhs of rupees in wrong accounts. Anyway, if Rupee 1 is gone to the right account then it is no loss. I am really at a loss to understand this test run being questioned."