Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has reduced the financial assistance given to farmers under the Kalia scheme to Rs 4,000 per annum from Rs 10,000, officials said on Saturday.
The decision to reduce the Kalia assistance was taken after the Odisha government merged the Kalia scheme with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), launched in February 2019, they said.
“Keeping the parity of both the schemes, the small farmers/marginal farmers may be given with Rs 5,000 for 2019-20 and Rs 4,000 per year from 2020-21, so that they will get Rs 10,000 annually i.e Rs 6,000 from PM-KISAN and Rs 4,000 from KALIA,” the notification issued by the Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment department said.
As all the eligible farmers will get assistance from PM-KISAN from 2019-20, no assistance for Rabi-2019 will be given under the Kalia scheme to these farmers, the notification said, adding that the beneficiaries, who have not yet received financial assistance during 2018-19 under Kalia scheme, will also be provided assistance for Rabi 2018-19.
“The actual cultivators (sharecroppers) who are landless, if any, will continue to get assistance from Kalia i.e Rs 10,000 annually, since they are not considered under PM-KISAN,” the notification said.
This apart, the state government also made it clear that applications from big/large farmers will be collected through online as the big/large farmers are eligible to get assistance from PM-KISAN scheme which is Rs 6,000 per annum.
The notification also said that the farmers residing under urban local bodies will not be considered for both the schemes. Both PM-Kisan and Kalia will have common exclusion criteria.
The notification further said: “As the Cooperation department has decided to provide interest free crop loan up to Rs 1 lakh to all farmers, so component i.e ‘interest free crop loan’ under Kalia which had a provision to provide interest free crop loan up to Rs 50,000 to all farmers has been subsumed and need not be further considered under Kalia.”
Since the number of beneficiaries under Kalia has increased so that no one will be left out, the notification said, adding that the component of “financial assistance to vulnerable agricultural households” is dropped from Kalia. It also said that since the Kalia scheme has been widely accepted by the farming community, the scheme will be extended till the PM-KISAN scheme continues.
Opposition BJP and Congress have strongly criticised the state governments act of merging the Kalia scheme with the PM-KISAN while Odisha’s leading farmers body Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS) has decided to file complaints in all police station against the chief minister for making “false promises” to the farmers before elections.
“Our activists will lodge complaints against the chief minister in all the police stations on December 16,” said NNKS convenor Akshya Kumar.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had launched the Kalia scheme, the state’s own farmer welfare scheme in December, 2018. It was promised during the launch of the scheme that financial assistance of Rs 10,000 would be provided to small and marginal farmers in two instalments for separate crops in a year.