Patnaik disburses Rs 386 crore COVID-19 package for landless farmers

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 30 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday disbursed Rs 385.98 crore as a special COVID-19 package for landless farmers across the state.

A total of 17,89,103 landless agricultural farmers will benefit from the package, officials said.

The financial benefit (Rs 1,000 each) will be transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT), in addition to funding under KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme.

A farmer under the KALIA scheme gets financial assistance of Rs 12,500 per annum in three phases. The beneficiaries under the KALIA scheme comprise small and marginal farmers, landless farmers, and farm labourers.

Noting that farmers are our pride and Odishas KALIA scheme brings smiles to several lakh families, Patnaik said his government and party (BJD) will continue to demand proper implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations which suggest that Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be one- and-a-half times more than the input cost.

The state government has been demanding an MSP of Rs 2,030 per quintal of paddy while the Centre has fixed it at Rs 1,868 per quintal.

In mid-June, Patnaik had announced a Rs 1,690 crore package for landless farmers, construction workers, urban poor, food security beneficiaries, MGNREGS workers and particularly vulnerable tribal group members of the state.

While disbursing the assistance on Wednesday, Patnaik spoke to three landless farmers who narrated how they had benefited from the KALIA scheme.

Patnaik said the states economy had sustained the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the dedicated sacrifice of the farmers who worked hard to protect the economy.

The chief minister described KALIA as the most preferred scheme of his government which can bring real change in the lives of farmers.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP criticised the state government and alleged that the ruling party has been giving funds to farmers on political lines.

'We do not know when the state government identified 18 lakh landless farmers. Are there any criteria to identify them? The state government should release the list of landless farmers,' said BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra. PTI AAM MM MM

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