PM KISAN vs KALIA: The politics & problems of plenty

Bhubaneswar: First it was Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu, then Odisha’s Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) and now Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN) – schemes offering direct cash benefits to farmers are popping out of nowhere in plentitude. With elections round the corner, many believe that the Centre has, on time, pitted its PM KISAN scheme against the ones launched by the State governments, especially KALIA in Odisha.

Though it is a fact that the Centre’s announcement has come at a crucial juncture just when the BJP lost crucial ground in the Hindi heartland, the move is being touted as saffron party’s biggest weapon (brahmastra).

In Odisha, as the State government has already started implementation of the KALIA scheme since last month. While the ruling-BJD in Odisha claims that its KALIA scheme is better, the Centre is confident that its PM-KISAN scheme will be more beneficial in the long-term.

However, farmer leaders have questioned both the Centre and the State’s schemes as attempts to hoodwink the community. Neither the state government is announcing bonus for the welfare of the farmers, nor is the Centre concerned to hike paddy MSP to Rs 2930 per quintal, said farmer outfit Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan. “They think that with help of their shrewd politics they can easily manipulate the farming community with these schemes, but the farmers will continue with their fight for price, pension and prestige,” said the outfit’s convener, Akshay Kumar.

Meanwhile, the biggest question is how the Centre will identify the beneficiaries for its KISAN scheme. Since the State government has already initiated implementation of its KALIA scheme, it remains to be seen whether the State government hands over the beneficiary list to the Centre or it delays the process of disbursement of central funds to farmers.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “If State government cooperates it would not be a daunting task to identify the farmers.”

Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said the identification of the beneficiaries depends on the Union Government’s consultations with the State government and our present infrastructure.