Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Boasting that 99 per cent of the 51.05 lakh KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme beneficiaries are eligible, Odisha government today rubbished the reports that it has distributed an assistance of about Rs 170.50 crore to 3.41 lakh ineligible beneficiaries under the scheme.

Earlier, State Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo had informed that 3.41 lakh ineligible beneficiaries including 12000 large farmers, 20000 government employees and pensioners and 9000 minors availed financial assistance under KALIA scheme.

However, a day later, issuing a clarification on media reports over these ineligible beneficiaries, Odisha government today said, "About 3 lakh persons from eligible families, belong to a family in which another person (which could be a minor) has also received assistance under the scheme. None of the persons who received the assistance was an ineligible beneficiary."

Acknowledging the above discrepancy which includes counting minors as eligible beneficiaries, the State government also went on to concede that "The KALIA scheme envisages that there will be only one beneficiary in each family. Thus the assistance sent to multiple members of the same eligible family will be treated as if the next installment, which is due under KALIA for that family, has already been received by that family."

The government further claimed that out of 1.19 crore applications, only 51.05 lakh beneficiaries were selected and despite this huge exercise carried out in a short span of three months, only 32000 have been found to be ineligible, belonging to the category of large farmers and government servants or pensioners.

Earlier today, CM Naveen stated that necessary steps will be taken to retrieve the funds from the ineligible beneficiaries.

When BJD spokesperson and MLA Pratap Deb was asked multiple questions on the 'bogus-beneficiary' issue, he said that the margin of error is 32,000 which is only 0.62% of the total recipients. Those families which received additional cash benefits, will not receive further assistance and the distribution would automatically get streamlined, Deb said.