Enhancing the ambit of the direct benefit transfer for electricity (DBTE) scheme under ‘Paani Bachao Paise Kamao’, the Punjab government has decided to bring farm contractors who cultivate the land on lease under it by changing the eligibility criteria.
Under which scheme, which was drafted by Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee to help the state government save underground water, farmers are paid subsidy in cash, instead of free power, based on the norms fixed by the government. According to government calculations, each farmer trying to reap the benefit of the scheme is paid a sum Rs 48,000 annually against the power used at their tubewells. Farmers are issued bills and in case one uses less power, one gets to keep the remaining amount of subsidy paid in cash by the government.
The government had launched the DBTE in July 2018 as a pilot project at six feeders in four districts of the state. Presently, more than 250 feeders have been brought under the scheme, with around Rs 16 lakh paid to farmers on power saved by them.
Till now, only the actual landowners were eligible for this scheme, but with the latest circular issued by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), farm contractors who cultivate land have also been made eligible to get the benefits of this scheme. The circular states that a farm cultivator can submit the enrolment application form duly filled by the consumer, giving an NoC for benefits to be transferred in the account of the cultivator.
Besides, the government has also decided that any farmer who owns more than one power connection and decides to opt for the scheme will have to opt for this scheme for all connections running on his name.