Odisha may slash Kalia aid, merge scheme with PM-Kisan

May 4, 2020 1:20 AM

The Odisha government’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for farmers, Kalia, which was announced a few months before the Assembly elections last year, may be curtailed and subsumed in the PM-Kisan scheme run by the Centre.

private mandi, farmers, MP CM,The idea is to cut the Kalia support to each farmer to Rs 4,000/year from Rs 10,000/year as conceived earlier.

By Prabhudatta Mishra

The Odisha government’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for farmers, Kalia, which was announced a few months before the Assembly elections last year, may be curtailed and subsumed in the PM-Kisan scheme run by the Centre.

The idea is to cut the Kalia support to each farmer to Rs 4,000/year from Rs 10,000/year as conceived earlier. Under the PM Kisan scheme, a farmer is entitled to receive a sum of Rs 6,000 a year. “When the Kalia scheme was rolled out in January 2019, the Centre did not have the PM-Kisan scheme. Now that PM-Kisan has already covered more than 36 lakh farmers of Odisha, there is no harm in reducing the entitlement under Kalia as the objective is to provide each farmer Rs 10,000/year,” a senior state government official said.

The state is considering to transfer Rs 4,000 to each farmer in two equal instalments in a year, the official added.

Since the state has budgeted about Rs 4,500 crore for other schemes in agriculture, dairy and fisheries for this fiscal, some of which are critical to get Centre’s 60% share in such schemes, the Kalia scheme has to be pruned,” said the official.

However, the state thinks the Centre would do well to curtail the existing schemes and pave the way for universal basic income support (UBIC). So far, 43 lakh farmers and landless labours have been disbursed Rs 5,115 crore in two instalments under the Kalia scheme. Though the state budget has allocated Rs 3,195 crore under the scheme for FY21, the actual outgo may be about Rs 2,000 crore only after the proposed reduction of disbursal amount to Rs 2,000/season, if 50 lakh farmers, share croppers and landless labourers are covered this year.

Under the Kalia scheme (2019-2021), as originally conceived, all eligible farmers/share croppers are to get Rs 5,000 each before the start of each kharif and rabi season while landless farm labourer will receive Rs 12,500 each in 3 instalments over 3 years. In May last year, the state had expanded its to 50 lakh farmers (including share croppers) and 25 lakh landless labourers from a total 50 lakh beneficiaries, including 30 lakh small and marginal farmers.

Besides providing interest-free crop loan of up to Rs 50,000 to farmers, the state has allocated substantial amount from the agriculture budget on irrigation with a target to bring in additional 1.84 lakh hectares during 2020-21. Around 29% of Odisha’s 4.5 million hectare net sown area has assured irrigation, whereas the all-India average is 49%.

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