Discover the latest developments as the Election Commission of India (ECI) instructs the Telangana government to cease disbursements under the Rythu Bandhu scheme until the conclusion of polls. EC asked the Telangana govt to stop Rythu Bandhu Payout on 27th November 2023 and BRS asked ECI not to Stop Rythu Bandhu Payout on 28 Nov 2023Get insights into the model code of conduct implications, financial aid concerns, and the response from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government.
In a significant turn of events, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a directive to the Telangana government, urging a temporary halt to disbursements under the Rythu Bandhu scheme. This decision comes in the wake of the ongoing election period and aims to uphold the model code of conduct (MCC) in the poll-bound state.
The Rythu Bandhu scheme, approved by the ECI in October 2018, witnessed disbursements during the assembly election, contingent upon a low-profile approach. However, recent public statements by minister T Harish Rao, a key campaigner for the party, triggered the ECI’s intervention. Rao’s remarks, widely publicized on November 26, not only violated MCC provisions but also disrupted the level playing field crucial for fair elections.
EC asks Telangana govt to stop Rythu Bandhu Payout
The ECI emphasized the need to adhere to the conditions set in October 2018, emphasizing non-publicization and the absence of political functions during disbursements. The commission underlined that the disbursement of Rabi installments historically occurred between October and January over the past five years, highlighting the absence of a fixed date.
Telangana Government’s Response:
The Telangana government, intending to initiate assistance disbursement from November 24 within the MCC period, sought the ECI’s no-objection. The EC granted approval, provided the government strictly adhered to the guidelines laid out in 2018, ensuring no direct benefit transfers occurred during the silence period and on the poll day.
The ECI has set a compliance deadline for the Telangana government, requiring a submission by 3 pm on Monday. This underscores the urgency and seriousness with which the commission views the need for adherence to electoral protocols.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the Rythu Bandhu scheme?
A: The Rythu Bandhu scheme is an agricultural support initiative aimed at providing financial aid to farmers.
Q: Why did the ECI instruct the Telangana government to halt disbursements?
A: The ECI intervened due to publicized statements by a minister violating the model code of conduct, impacting the fairness of the ongoing election.
Q: What conditions were set by the ECI in October 2018?
A: The ECI laid out conditions including non-publicization, no involvement of political functionaries, and no addition of new beneficiaries during the disbursement of Rythu Bandhu assistance.
The Commission had put forth the following conditions vide its direction dated 5. October 2018 while approving the release of disbursement under the Rythu Bandhu scheme during the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Telangana 2018:-
(i) No new beneficiaries should be added to list of eligible beneficiaries; (ii) No publicity should be made in this regard; (iii) No public function should be organized for disbursement of kits/items in kind; (iv) No political functionary will be involved in the process of disbursement and; (v) As far as possible direct electronic transfer of cash component should be made through the account of the beneficiary and there should be no distribution of cheques in this regard.
It is noted that the State of Telangana disbursed Rabi installments of Rythu Bandhu assistance during October-January in last five years and there is neither any fix date(s) of disbursement prescribed in the scheme nor any special significance of disbursement in the month of November is assigned in design or performance of the scheme.
The Govt. of Telangana vide its letter no. 6088/Agri.II (1)/2023 dated 18.11.2023 informed the Commission that the disbursement of Rythu Bandhu assistance is proposed from 24. November 2023 during the MCC period in the ongoing election process in full compliance with the conditions mentioned in the Commission’s letter dated 5. Oct, 2018.
The Commission vide its letter of even no dated 25. November 2023 has given no objection’ for disbursement of Rythu Bandhu assistance in the State of Telangana with conditions that the Govt. of Telangana will follow the instructions in the Commission’s direction vide
its letter dated 5. October 2018 and no DBT assistance will be affected during the silence period and poll day in the State. Above said `no objection’ was granted, based on the premise that the said scheme is an ongoing scheme and Rabi installments were disbursed during October-January in the past five years. 4. Needless to say, the Model Code of Conduct is applicable in the State of Telangana and all concerned are required to comply with the
Model Code of Conduct. Relevant parts of the Model Code of Conduct are as follows:
Para VII. Party in Power Para 6: 1, front the time of elections are announced by Commission, Ministers, and other authorities shall not-(a) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof;
5. The Commission has been now informed vide your letter no. 7022/Elections. A/A1/2023 dated 26.11.2023 that Sh. T. Harish Rao, Minister of Finance and Heath 86 Family Welfare, Govt. of Telangana has made statements regarding the disbursement of Rythu Bandhu Scheme by a particular time before the date of poll, which is widely reported in newspapers and local media on 26. November 2023.
The Commission has observed that Sh T. Hanish Rao, Minister of Finance and Heath & Family Welfare, Govt. of Telangana who is also a contesting candidate sponsored by the BRS Party from 33- Siddipet Assembly Constituency in ongoing GE to LA Telangana 2023, a Star campaigner of the Party and also the Finance Minister of Telangana, has not only violated the provisions of MCC contained in in Para VII of Model Code of Conduct but also conditions laid down as above by publicising the release under the scheme, and thereby disturbed the level playing field in the on-going election process.
In the context as above of clear violation of Model Code of Conduct and conditions laid down while granting `no objection’, the Commission has directed that the permission granted vide its letter of even no dated 25. November, 2023 for disbursement of Rabi season instalment under the ongoing Rythu Bandhu scheme during currency of MCC, shall stand withdrawn immediately and there shall be no disbursement under the Scheme till the Model Code of Conduct in the State of Telangana ceases to apply in all its form. The Commission decision shall immediately be conveyed to the Govt. of Telangana and the compliance report taken and submitted to the Commission by 15:00 Hours on 27.HOYCBANS.2021 Yours faithfully, (Avinash Kumar) Principal Secretary
As the Telangana government grapples with the ECI’s directive, the Rythu Bandhu scheme remains a focal point amid the ongoing election dynamics. The adherence to electoral guidelines and the subsequent impact on financial aid to farmers underscore the intricacies of balancing governance and election integrity. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story.