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Odisha rolls out raths in battle for tillers’ hearts

150 vehicles to publicise state’s agriculture scheme in every panchayat

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 03.02.19, 07:50 PM
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik flags off the raths.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik flags off the raths. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has rolled out 150 vehicles that will visit all panchayats to publicise the state’s scheme for farmers, upping the battle with the Centre’s assistance for tillers announced in the interim Union budget.

Kalia (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation, the acronym is another name for Lord Jagannath), the Odisha scheme launched on December 21 last year, promises income support of Rs 10,000 per year for small and marginal farmers having up to five acres of land. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi promises Rs 6,000 annual assistance.


On Saturday, Naveen flagged off 150 Kalia raths to popularise the state’s scheme.

“Kalia scheme will prove to be a milestone in Odisha’s economy,” Naveen said at the launch. “The scheme will help farmers improve their agricultural activities as well as their livelihood. No one can stop the Kalia jatra in Odisha.”

A state official said awareness would be created on aspects of the scheme through audio-visual media that would include folk art.

“The raths will clarify doubts about the programme,” an official said.

Naveen has started touring the state and attending meetings. “Are all of you happy? If you are happy, I am happy,” he often says at the meetings.

On Sunday, the chief minister toured the mineral rich Keonjhar district to attend a farmers’ convention, the third such event within 10 days since December 25 last year.

On December 25, Congress president was in Odisha. On Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah was in Odisha. On both days, Naveen was addressing farmers.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said disbursal of funds under Kalia has already started.

“In the first phase, the government has already disbursed more than Rs 622 crore directly to the accounts of more than 12.45 lakh small and nominal farmers. More than Rs 28 crore has already been deposited to the accounts of nearly 57,000 sharecroppers,” a source said.

Similarly, Rs 250 crore would be disbursed to more than 5 lakh landless farmers.

Around Rs 10,000 crore will be spent under the programme over a period of three years till 2020-21. The government has also introduced a helpline, 1800-572-1122, to know the grievances of farmers.

The BJP claims Naveen’s scheme has is aimed at elections.

“They have hurriedly announced the Kalia programme and it is not a long-term scheme,” Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters on Saturday. “But the Modi government’s scheme is a long and continuous programme that aims to address the issues of farmers on a long-term basis. If the state government is interested for the welfare of the farmers, it would have certainly come out with a law on sharecroppers.”

Odisha information and public relations minister Pratap Jena said: “We have provisions for the share croppers too. Even the landless labourers are also entitled to Rs 10,000 financial assistance. The central scheme has no such provisions, not even a rupee, for the sharecroppers and the landless labourers. They (the BJP) are indulging in politics where as we are committed for the development of the state. Under the scheme, we have a provision to give interest-free loan up to Rs 50,000. On the contrary, the Centre announced loans for farmers at 2 per cent interest.”

Shah vs CM

BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday, equated the BJD government to a burnt transformer. “When a transformer is gutted, it has to be thrown out,” he said at the national tribal convention of his party in Puri. He also urged people to choose a chief minister who knows Odia.

Naveen said: “We shall wait for the results of the 2019 elections... wait to see who is the fused transformer and who is the transformer of Odisha.”

Odisha’s scheme for farmers

  • Rs 10,000 per year for small and marginal farmers having land up to 5 acres
  • Covers all farmers including landless farmers, sharecroppers and agricultural labourers. Will benefit 92 per cent of all farmers. It will cover 30.16 lakh small and marginal farmers including sharecroppers, 10 lakh landless and 10 lakh vulnerable agricultural families
  • Money to be disbursed in two instalments during Ravi and Kharif
  • Rs 10,180 crore earmarked for 3 years
  • First instalment disbursed, money deposited
  • Crop loan up to Rs 50,000 at zero per cent interest
  • Life insurance and personal accident cover of Rs 2 lakh

Centre’s scheme for farmers

  • Rs 6,000 per for every small and marginal farmer with land up to 2 hectares (4.94 acres)
  • Only landholding farmers to be included. No provision for landless farmers, sharecroppers and agricultural labourers
  • Money to be disbursed in three instalments
  • Budget allocation of Rs 75,000 crore. For the disbursal of first instalment, Rs 20,000 crore earmarked
  • To be effective from December 2018, First instalment to be paid before March 31
  • Interest subvention of 2 per cent for farmers pursuing animal husbandry and fishing, additional 3 per cent subvention for timely payment
  • Farmers hit by calamities to get interest subvention of 2 per cent and prompt repayment incentive of 3 per cent on re-scheduling loans
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