Odisha's Big Poll Announcement, KALIA Scheme to Provide Rs 15,000 Into Farmers' Bank Account
At the Krushi Odisha 2019 event in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, Patnaik had claimed the scheme will benefit 92 percent of the cultivators in the state and include every category from big farmers to landless cultivators.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik at an event on january 24, 2019. (Image: Twitter)
With just months to go for 2019 general election, chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched direct-benefit transfer scheme for farmers and landless workers named as KALIA.
Short for Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation or KALIA will witness expenditure worth Rs 10,180 crore over three years until 2020-21 in providing financial assistance to cultivators and landless agricultural labourers. At the Krushi Odisha 2019 event in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday, Patnaik had claimed the scheme will benefit 92 percent of the cultivators in the state and include every category from big farmers to landless cultivators.
All farmers will be provided Rs 10,000 per family as assistance for cultivation. Each family will get Rs 5,000 separately in the kharif and rabi seasons, for five cropping seasons between 2018-19 and 2021-22.
Although the scheme is not linked to the amount of land owned, the government insists it will “greatly benefit” sharecroppers and cultivators, most of whom own little or no land.
While reaching out to the existing 12 lakh farmers registered under government schemes may not pose a problem, but identifying new beneficiaries is a mammoth task that will certainly stretch the official machinery.
The first instalment for Rs 5,000 was distributed on Friday in Puri.
The scheme also targets 10 lakh landless households, and specifically SC and ST families. They will be supported with a unit cost of Rs 12,500 for activities like goat rearing, mushroom cultivation, bee-keeping, poultry farming and fishery.
The BJD government was facing pressure to match its rivals which have announced or promised farm loan waivers. While the Centre is planning interest-free loans among various moves, the Congress in Odisha has been highlighting the loan waiver announced in states where the party has recently come to power. The BJP has promised that if it wins in Odisha, it will waive existing loans and provide interest-free loans.
In his press conference announcing the KALIA scheme, Patnaik had criticised the Congress for demanding a loan waiver. “The Congress demand will be a ridiculous repetition of their (state) government from 1995-1999… You will remember how the treasury was bankrupt, how salaries could not be paid, how infrastructure suffered… It (loan waivers to farmers) hasn’t paid in the past. It will not pay in the future.”
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