Linking welfare distribution to land records: a case-study of the Rythu Bandhu Scheme (RBS) in Telangana

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The direct benefits transfer scheme for farmers in the state of Telangana, called the Rythu Bandhu Scheme (RBS), is expected to benefit 6 million farmers in Telangana, where the beneficiaries are identified on the basis of their land records. This paper by the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research studies the design and implementation of RBS and offers several important lessons, both positive and negative, for the centrally-funded Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan Scheme) as well for other states looking at implementing such income support schemes linked to land ownership.

There are two documents available for download here: the research paper, and a policy brief outlining the key takeaways for designing similar welfare distribution schemes. You can also find here an infographic explainer laying down key takeaways.


  • This research looks at the Rythu Bandhu Scheme and the unique state-wide land records updation drive, referred to as the Land Records Updation Program (LRUP), to assess the following:
  • The scope of land reforms before RBS was implemented. .
  • The institutional mechanisms set up by the Government of Telangana to carry out the distribution of RBS benefits linked to land holding size.
  • The state capacity needed for implementing the Rythu Bandhu Scheme.
  • The shortcomings of the Rythu Bandhu Scheme, and how it can be improved