Centre asks States to speed up Kisan Credit Card distribution

Bhubaneswar: Political parties, ruling or Opposition, are busy considering every possible measure to support farmers as elections are round the corner. The Narendra Modi-led central government has directed all the state governments including Odisha to to complete the massive exercise of offering Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) to farmers.

The Union Agriculture Ministry has reportedly written letters in this regard to the chief secretaries of all the states directing them to hold campaigns at block and village-level to offer KCCs to farmers across the country. Besides, the Centre has already increased the limit of KCCs to Rs 1.6 lakh from the earlier Rs 1 lakh cap (KCCs limit for Animal Husbandry is Rs 3 lakh).

In Odisha, while a total of 45 lakh farmers having account in cooperative banks are eligible to get the KCCs, only one-third have so far received the cards. Moreover, some farmers of Odisha had received KCCs around six-seven years ago and while those cards are now upgraded to RuPay cards to give more facilities, those farmers continue to hold the old cards which are presently of no use.

“They had given us the card seven-eight years ago. The government (Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik) is always telling ‘mu khusi, apana mane khusi ta,’… ‘ame mane kemiti khusi hebu?’… How can we be happy when we are not even getting loans by using the cards,” said Prafulla Rout, a farmer of Bhinjarpur village in Jajpur district of Odisha.

Another farmer Gangadhar Barik alleged that they are getting no benefits from the cards they have received. “We were thinking that we could get some help like purchase of seeds, fertiliser and equipment. Till date, we have got no such benefits,” said Barik.

Meanwhile, Odisha Cooperation Minister Surjya Narayan Patro cited lack of internet connectivity as the reason behind the dealy. “A total of 21 lakh beneficiaries’ names are there and we have the cards available with us. But the process of sifting the fake beneficiaries is yet to be completed due to lack of internet connectivity. We are taking other steps,” said Patro.