Odisha government will disburse financial assistance to farmers under the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme till March 31, Odisha state Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said on Monday, irrespective of the fact that the model code of conduct has already come into force.
"The state government will also take steps to include farmers who have been left out from the benefits of the Kalia scheme. The inclusion process will continue till March 31," Behera said.
However, the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S. Kumar said on Sunday that the ongoing KALIA scheme would continue but the state government could not add more beneficiaries under it since the election schedule is already declared, contradicting the state finance minister.
The Odisha government under the Kalia scheme provides financial assistance of Rs. 10,000 per family (Rs 5,000 each for the Kharif and Rabi season) to small and marginal farmers for taking up cultivation.
While giving a reply to a question on the Centre's PM-KISAN scheme, Behera clarified that he does not have any idea as to why 3-4 lakh farmers have been excluded from the list that has been sent to the Centre for enrolment under the PM-KISAN Yojana. He demanded that the Centre should consider the state's proposal to include economically weaker and landless farmers under the scheme as well. "If all these issues are addressed, the state government will be able to cooperate with the Centre properly," Behera said replying to BJP's allegation, made by BJP's state vice-president Samir Mohanty, that the state government did not cooperate in implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme.
It is well known that since the implementation of the KALIA scheme the state unit of BJP is nervous and has criticised the KALIA yojana saying that it amounts to bribing the party men ahead of the polls and influence the voters. No wonder that BJP has termed it as cheating with farmers.