As Kalia scheme bleeds treasury Odisha converges it with PM-Kisan scheme
The Kalia scheme for small and marginal farmers as well as sharecroppers was announced in December 2018 by Naveen Patnaik government to help ride out the farm distress and helped the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) retain power for the fourth consecutive term.Updated: Dec 08, 2019 10:37 IST
The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha has decided to converge its farmer assistance project Kalia with PM-Kisan scheme to minimize the impact on the state’s fiscal health even as opposition parties said the scheme was only meant to win the Assembly polls in April this year.
The new notification issued by Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department said that as the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme is “gaining wide adaptability day by day among the farming community, the scheme will be extended till the PM-Kisan scheme continues”.
“Operational guidelines of both the schemes were examined and it was decided that all the eligible farmers will get assistance from PM-Kisan in 2019-20. As all the farmers will get assistance under PM-Kisan from 2019-20, no assistance for Rabi crops will be given to farmers under Kalia scheme. Keeping parity of both the schemes, the small farmers/ marginal farmers will be given Rs 5,000 for 2019-20 and Rs 4,000 per year from 2020-21 under Kalia, so that they will get Rs 10,000 annually i.e. Rs 6,000 from PM-Kisan and Rs 4000 under Kalia. The large farmers who did not get any assistance under Kalia will get Rs 6000 annual assistance under the PM-Kisan scheme,” said the notification which was published in the Gazette on Saturday.
The notification said 14.7 lakh landless farmers of the State will, however, continue to get Rs 12,000 per year under the Kalia scheme as there was no provision for landless farmers under the central scheme.
The Kalia scheme for small and marginal farmers as well as sharecroppers was announced in December 2018 by Naveen Patnaik government to help ride out the farm distress and helped the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) retain power for the fourth consecutive term.
In the first installment, the state government spent Rs 2552 crore on more than 51 lakh small and marginal and landless farmers giving them Rs 5000 each as farm assistance for purchase of inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and labour charges per agriculture season.
With a projected expenditure of Rs 8122.60 crore in 2019-20 and 2020-21 for the Kalia scheme, the State government had already halved the beneficiary list for Kalia in second installment by pruning it to 25.9 lakh farmers.
In February, the Centre had started Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme with income support of Rs 6000 per year to all farmer families across the country in three equal installments of Rs 2000.
In the run-up to the election to the State Assembly and Lok Sabha this year, opposition BJP had accused the Naveen Patnaik government of not sending the list of intended beneficiaries of PM-Kisan scheme to the Union agriculture ministry alleging that it was scared of PM Narendra Modi’s popularity in Odisha. Even Modi in his election speeches in Odisha had accused the state government of not providing the Centre with the list of eligible farmers for PM-Kisan scheme.
BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said the government’s announcement of Kalia scheme before polls showed that it was a pre-election gimmick. “During election the State government launched ‘Kalia’ to get votes. It knew that that it won’t be able to run the scheme for long as it has little money. To disburse the first installments, the government used up its contingency fund. Now that it is running out of money, it smartly decided to converge it with the central scheme,” said Mohapatra.
State Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik said Odisha govt announced Kalia and Biju Swasthya Kalyan scheme ahead of 2019 polls. “But now that they don’t have the required money to continue the scheme, they want the Modi govt to bail them out. Earlier they supported BJP by compromising politics but now they are also accepting their schemes,” said Patnaik.