KALIA reality check shows Naveen’s 5T fumbles in stopping leakage!

KALIA, a live test case of Odisha Government's 5T policy, has 2.66 lakh ineligible beneficiaries courtesy the faulty identification unit of State government to select the claimants

Bhubaneswar: Finally, it’s ‘KALIA’ who gave a reality check on State’s lack of capacity to implement its much avowed policy  of 5Ts (Technology,  Transparency, Team Work, Time and Transformation).

The Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) is in-fact a live test case demonstration of State’s 5T policy. Because, the scheme saw extensive use of ‘Technology’ and great ‘Team work’ from gram panchayat to State secretariat level. And aided by the 2Ts, the scheme was rolled out in a ‘Time’ bound manner before the polls to ensure the necessary ‘Transformations’.

But the recent admission by the State Government that a massive 2.66 lakh or around 10 per cent of the beneficiaries under its game -changer scheme are ineligible, flashes the yawning gap between the talking and walking the talk. As the State government had earlier said of providing Rs 1,300 crore to bank accounts of the farmers, given that 10 per cent are not qualified to receive the government assistance, the leakage then worked out at around Rs 130 crore.  Now, the State Government has issued an official notification calling for verification of KALIA beneficiaries to weed out the ineligible ones. It has also implored upon the fake beneficiaries to return the amount!

In contrast, no such leakage has been observed in the two mega 5T schemes of Modi Government – PM Ujjwala Yojana and PM KISAN. Contrarily, reports attributed a saving to the tune of Rs 1.1 lakh crore post the use of DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) technology in government welfare schemes.

An analysis of PM KISAN and KALIA shows where the fault lies. The KALIA scheme defines the ‘Farm Family’ as one whose members share a common ration card; whereas PM KISAN defined a ‘Farm Family’ as one  who holds cultivable land as per land records of a State/UT.

Since the State Government recently conceded that there are over 1 lakh households in the State who use multiple ration cards, the catch here is the faulty unit specified for identification of a farm family in KALIA scheme did the damage.

This is not the first instance.  The State government had faced huge embarrassment in ration cards distribution under the National Food Security Act in 2016. The situation then was so worse that the State government first ordered FIRs against ineligible card holders, and later had to eat a humble pie following large scale protests across the State.

The big common line drawn between both the schemes is the faulty identification process. Both instances show the identification system in the State is ridden with corruption.

Interestingly, when the State government has been well aware that ration cards are in the hands of many ineligible beneficiaries, what baffled observers is why it has chosen the yardstick of ration card for identification of KALIA beneficiaries.