Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Why is the Odisha government yet to get the numbers right about the Kushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme? Many are now raising questions over the lack of consistency between the figures related to the total number of KALIA beneficiaries given by the State ministers.

While Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo had earlier said that 51,50,290 farmers received money under KALIA scheme, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari on Tuesday informed the State Assembly that only 43 lakh farmers have got assistance under the KALIA scheme in the State.

On the other hand, the Agriculture Minister today informed the Assembly that 45,965 ineligible beneficiaries have been identified so far and steps are being taken by the government to get the money back from them.

He further said that as many as 1873 such beneficiaries have already returned the money and efforts are on to recover the money from the bogus beneficiaries.

The Minister also clarified that there is no plan to merge the KALIA scheme with Centre's PM-KISAN Yojana.

However, Congress had earlier accused the State government of always maintaining double-standards and alleged that there is no truth in the data provided by the Naveen govt regarding the actual number of ineligible KALIA beneficiaries.

The BJP had also claimed that 1/3rd of KALIA scheme beneficiaries are ineligible and the Naveen-led Odisha government was accused of misutilising the State exchequer in the name of KALIA scheme.