End of the road for Patnaik's "KALIA" ?

KALIA was launched by the Patnaik administration just a couple of months before the Lok Sabha and assembly elections to counter the clamour for farmers’ loan waiver by the opposition parties in the state, particularly the Congress and the BJP. (DH File Photo. For representation purpose)

The Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation(KALIA), Odisha chief minister and ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) president Naveen Patnaik’s pet flagship scheme for farmers and agriculturists which had played a key role in his party’s grand success during the recently held assembly elections in the state seems to be counting its days.

The regional outfit has already given enough hints that its government is keen to find an alternative to the popular but highly money guzzling scheme, obviously because of fund crunch.

Speaking in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively, two party stalwarts Bhatruhari Mahtab and Prasanna Acharya recently advocated for the merger of KALIA with PM-Kisan scheme, the government of India’s flagship programme for the development and benefit of the farmers across the country. “The farmers will be benefitted more if the two schemes are merged into one”, both the senior leaders said.

Mahtab, a six-time Lok Sabha member from Cuttack Parliament constituency in coastal Odisha went on to add that the fund for the newly merged entity should be shared between the Centre and the Odisha government on 70-30 basis. Observers believe that both the senior leaders who are also founder members of the regional outfit spoke on the important issue with a green signal from the party high command, chief minister and party chief Patnaik to be precise.

The two senior leaders’ public statement on the subject that too in an important platform like the Parliament provided enough fodders for the opposition Congress to corner the Patnaik administration on the issue.

“It is now obvious that the government is facing a financial problem to continue with the scheme. That’s the reason why it now wants the merger of the scheme with PM-Kisan. The two senior party MPs were speaking on behalf of the state government”, senior Congress legislator Tara Prasad Bahinipati said.

KALIA was launched by the Patnaik administration just a couple of months before the Lok Sabha and assembly elections to counter the clamour for farmers’ loan waiver by the opposition parties in the state, particularly the Congress and the BJP.

As per the provisions in the scheme, the farmers in the state would be provided with Rupees 10, 000 each every year – Rupees 5000 for Kharif and another Rupees 5000 for Rabi – through a direct money transfer mechanism. Initially, the scheme was to cover 35 lakh farmers across the state. Now the beneficiaries’ number has gone up to 75 lakh.

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