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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announces Rs 10,000 cr assistance package for farmers

Effectively, a handout of Rs 10,000 to each farmer in the state, the populist move comes ahead of assembly polls which are usually held along with the general election in the state.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2018 11:14 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik during the 'Odisha Investors' meet, in Chennai on September 26.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik during the 'Odisha Investors' meet, in Chennai on September 26.(AP File Photo)
         

With farm distress sweeping the country and the governments of several Hindi heartland states announcing mega loan waivers ahead of 2019 general election, chief minister Naveen Patnaik Friday announced a Rs 10,180 crore programme under which farmers will get ~10,000 a year for purchase of seeds, fertilisers and insecticides as well as an interest free loan of Rs 50,000.

Effectively, a handout of Rs 10,000 to each farmer in the state, the populist move comes ahead of assembly polls which are usually held along with the general election in the state.

The state cabinet Friday approved the scheme, titled Krushak Assistant for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), which will be operational for the next the three years. The name of the scheme is likely to find huge resonance with the farmers as Lord Jagannath, the state’s most popular diety is popularly called Kalia by millions of his devotees. Incidentally, the announcement of the scheme comes just three days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Odisha to announce projects worth Rs 14,500 crore in the state.

“Kalia is progressive, inclusive and will make a direct attack on poverty by way of massive investment in this sector and making benefits reach the neediest through Direct Benefit Transfer mode,” said Patnaik.

Modelled on the Ryuthu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government, as well as Raita Baku scheme of Karnataka government in which farmers get investment support for inputs such as seeds and pesticides, over three million farmers of the state will get Rs 10,000 a year.

Besides, a million landless households will be given Rs 12,500 each to take up activities such as rearing goats, pisciculture, mushroom cultivation and beekeeping. And for about a million farmers who may not be able to take up these livelihood options due to old age, disability, disease or other reasons, an annual financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per household will be provided.

Finally, under the terms of the scheme, crop loans up to Rs 50,000 will henceforth be interest free.

Chief secretary Aditya Padhi said eligible families will be identified and selected by Gram Panchyats. Apart from this, life insurance cover of Rs 200,000 and an additional personal accident cover of Rs 200,000 will be provided to both cultivators and landless agricultural labourers covering about 5.7 million households.

First Published: Dec 22, 2018 07:39 IST

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