Bhubaneswar (LocalWire) July 11: Odisha government’s move to extend the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme through direct benefit transfer (DBT) to 25 lakh additional families from farming community is giving nightmares to state government officials who are finding it difficult to create the list of deserving and genuine beneficiaries.
As promised during his poll campaign, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had set in motion the process to provide financial assistance to cultivators and landless agricultural labourers under his ambitious KALIA scheme on May 30, the first day after he took oath for the record fifth term as the chief minister.
The scheme, which the opposition continues to dub as cash inducement to buy votes, had paid rich dividends for the regional party and its satrap Patnaik, helping it secure a massive mandate in 2019 assembly polls.
Prior to the polls, 42 lakh families were covered under the scheme and the government is now planning to cover 33 lakh families under KALIA.
Officials in each of the 30 districts are contending with the herculean task of carrying out foolproof identification of prospective beneficiaries under the KALIA scheme.
According to sources, officers are facing an arduous task of properly enumerating the landless farmers since in a lot of cases, the applications from landless people do not include documentary proof to corroborate that they have taken up farming as sharecroppers.
Besides, the skeletal workforce has made the task of identifying genuine applicants near-impossible.
“As authorities concerned are racing against time to finalize the list of landless farmers, fake beneficiaries are bound to reap benefits,” an official said.
“We do not have the required number of staff at the ground level to crosscheck the genuine credentials of applications furnished by landless farmers.
Thus, lapses are bound to occur. We have been told to finalize the list by July end.
At least six months’ period was required to meticulously verify the list but that was not to be,” an official in Cuttack district confided.
The landless farmers are being provided with Rs 5,000 through DBT, while a landless agriculture worker will be eligible to get Rs 12,500 in three installments for livelihood activities like goatery, backyard poultry, poultry, apiculture, mushroom cultivation, duck farming and fishing kit under the scheme.
The scheme promises financial aid of Rs 25,000 per farm family over five seasons to small and marginal farmers, including share-croppers, to purchase inputs.
Under the provision of KALIA, all small and marginal farmers, sharecroppers, landless agricultural labourers and farmers in distress are to be provided with financial assistance for augmenting their income.