KALIA Scheme: Agri Minister Grilled In Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Members cutting across party lines in the State Assembly on Monday took strong exception to the unsatisfactory reply by Agriculture Minister Arun Sahu on the number of farmers and disbursement of financial assistance to the beneficiaries under the KALIA scheme.

The issue cropped up during the question-hour session. While replying to a question by Congress member Tara Prasad Bahinipati on the total number of people in the state dependent on agriculture in 2010 and their present number in 2019, the minister said according to the 2011 Census report, there are 57 lakh farm households, of which 32.80 lakh are cultivators and 24.20 lakh are farm labourers who have been provided with financial assistance under the KALIA scheme.

Criticising the haphazard reply of the minister, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra said if the state government has no knowledge about the total number of farmers in the state, on what basis it has disbursed the money to the farmers.

In his reply, the minister said while 22 lakh farmers have been included in the KALIA scheme, several farmers have also applied for the scheme in the green form. The exact number of farmers will be known very soon. Till date, the state government has provided KALIA assistance to 50 lakh farmers, he added.

Expressing resentment over the unsatisfactory reply of the ministers, Congress members Santosh Singh Saluja and Suresh Routray and the treasury bench members Debi Prasad Mishra and Prafulla Samal sought further clarification from him.

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