Odisha Government’s flagship scheme Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) was on news both in the National Capital and also in the State Capital.

While the Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to the state government for implementing direct cash transfer scheme KALIA to benefit small farmers, cultivators and landless agricultural labours before 2019 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the scheme was discussed in the Odisha Assembly.

A three-judge bench of the Apex Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also issued notice to the Election Commission, Union of India, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Telangana for implementing direct cash transfer schemes before the elections to attract voters in large numbers and asked them to file their responses.

The Apex Court issued notice in response to a petition filed by Dr Pentapati Pullarao, a man form Andhra Pradesh.

The petitioner pleaded in the court to issue directions declaring the implementation of direct cash transfer scheme before elections as unconstitutional.

“We will examine the court notice and react,” Odisha’s Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo told reporters.

KALIA issue was also discussed in Odisha Assembly where Opposition oCongress and BJP said farmers in the state need water, seeds, proper MSP and not sops under the State Government's scheme.

Both the opposition parties alleged in the assembly that the state government has misled cultivators in the name of KALIA.

Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said: "You (govt) are giving Rs 10,000 to a farmer's family per year under KALIA. Why do you not raise the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to Rs 2500 per quintal? A farmer owning five acres will get additional Rs 60,000 if he gets MSP at par with Chhattisgarh."

Claiming that farmers are being cheated by not raising the MSP on paddy to Rs 2500 from Rs 1750 per quintal, Mr.Mishra said "The state government had earlier admitted in the floor of the Assembly that the cost of production of a quintal of paddy was Rs 2344. But, the farmers now get Rs 1750 per quintal. Are they not cheated ?" 

A farmer family is losing at least Rs 50,000 per crop and getting only Rs 10,000 per annum, he said adding that farmers in Odisha need proper MSP and not sops under KALIA.

Under the KALIA scheme farmers get Rs 5,000 financial assistance per crop. A farm household is entitled to get Rs 10,000 per year for two crops (Kharif and Rabi).

BJP Member Jaynarayan Mishra also accused the government of not being able to provide seeds, water and financial assistance to farmers which, he said, push them to commit suicide. "The farmers do not want sops under KALIA. They require MSP, water, seeds and free power".

Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo rejected the opposition's allegations and claimed that the State Government has been sympathetic towards farmers.

"KALIA scheme has been helpful for the farmers as they get assistance for agricultural activities," the Minister said.

Annoyed over the minister's reply, Congress Members walked out of the Assembly in protest

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