Opposition questions beneficiary selection criteria for KALIA scheme

Bhubaneswar: Many eyebrows rose when Odisha government today announced that the beneficiaries under the newly-launched Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme would receive monetary assistance by January 26. With only two days left for the farmers to file enrolment applications, the Opposition has questioned the method of selection of beneficiaries in such a short span of time.

As per the modalities fixed for the implementation of KALIA scheme, the government has asked concerned officials to identify and notify the beneficiaries while monetary assistance will be directly credited to the bank accounts of 12.4 lakh farmers by January 26 in the first phase.

The identification of beneficiaries for the second phase will start from January 20 and will continue till January 30 and assistance will be provided between February 13 and 15.

“The last date for submission of application is January 15. If we get monetary benefits, then this definitely is a welcome move,” said a farmer from Aska.

On the other hand, there are some people who have not only applied for themselves, but for their entire family to get enrolled in the scheme. “I and other members of my family have applied for inclusion in the KALIA scheme,” said a farmer of Angul.

Itishree Satapathy, Nodal Officer, Angul said, “The number of applications we have received exceeds the number of families. We haven’t received any guideline on selection or rejection of an application.”

No doubt, the selection process poses a major challenge for the State government and questions have also been raised on how the government will manage to select or reject the beneficiaries in such a short period.

Ridiculing the KALIA scheme, senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati commented, “This scheme will boomerang for BJD in the upcoming elections. This is not KALIA scheme, but totally a ‘KALA’ (black) scheme. Only time will say how long this KALA scheme will sustain. Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme keeping the elections in mind.”

Similarly, Surath Biswal, General Secretary of BJP Krushak Morcha targeted the ruling party and said, “It has not been decided as to who will identify the farmers. And they are saying that the money will be deposited by January 26, which means all this is done in haste to woo the farmers. The scheme is only meant for the workers of the party, and only those workers will be benefited. The actual farmers and beneficiaries will not get any benefits.”

Meanwhile, Senior BJD leader and Cooperation Minister Surjya Narayan Patro said, “Money will be directly credited to the bank accounts of nearly 12.40 lakh farmers who are having regular transactions with us. Besides, the farmers who have recently applied under the KALIA scheme will also get assistance by January 26 after necessary verification by concerned officers.”