A decade after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi nudged the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to offer a special package for the drought-hit Bundelkhand region that comprises parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, a report commissioned by NITI Aayog found changes for the better, with crop production doubling and access to sources of irrigation and drinking water increasing.
The maximum impact on income wasn’t on account of irrigation facilities, but the distribution of improved Murrah Buffalo, helping beneficiaries earn as much as Rs 10,000 annually.
“Interventions related to livelihood support were found to be more impactful in generating additional income for farmers. Only a meagre amount has been spent by both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on livelihood support activities. But the per capita impact has been much higher as compared to other interventions,” said the report prepared by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
With beneficiaries who received improved Murrah Buffalo for breeding services charging in the range of Rs 100-500 for each service, almost 56 per cent of the beneficiaries reported additional income of Rs 5,000-10,000 annually, besides about 15 per cent earning more than Rs 10,000.
The UPA had unveiled the special package of Rs 7,466 crore in 2009-10. Afterwards, the government had made an additional allocation of Rs 4,400 crore in the 12th Five Year Plan.