**Bhubaneswar:** Today federal governance is at crossroads where farm loan waiver has become a trend for State Governments. At this juncture, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik dispensation is showing the country a new way under ‘KALIA’ programme, which is expected to provide financial, livelihood and cultivation support, along with insurance support to small, marginal and the landless farmers.
Projected as the State Government’s flagship scheme, KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) is an exhaustive programme which will cover cultivators, loanee, as well as non-loanee farmers, share croppers and landless agriculture labourers.
Lok Sabha Member Kalikesh Singhdeo said, KALIA offers an economic support for samll and marginal farmers. “It aims at alleivating the pains of the marginal farmers who are often deprived of the schemes launched by the Centre. There is enough fiscal discipline and targeted income support for the small farmers,” Singhdeo said.
Senior journalist Prabhu Kalyan Mohapatra said that KALIA is definitely an excellent scheme which needs to be implemented effectively. “However, the timing of the launch is dicey as the Government will be power for the next three to four months. It will be the next Government which will be in complete authority for KALIA’s seamless execution,” he added.
KALIA is one such programme which will benefit 92% of the total farming population or around 74 lakh households in the state. The Odisha government allocated Rs 10,180 crore for the scheme. It is an annual programme and the financial benefits will be distributed over a period of three years, following which it will be reviewed for improvements, BJD Spokesperson Sasmit Patra said.
“We are fiscally very prudent and stand among the top three states. When BJD came to power our borrowings were 16,000 crore and fiscal budget was its half, at Rs 8,000 crore. Today, our budget is Rs 1,32,000 crore and our borrowings are around Rs 90,000 crore. So, Odisha is financially in a very good position to execute the KALIA scheme,” Patra added.
It may be noted that of the 32 lakh cultivators in Odisha, only the richest 20 lakh have farm loans, and they should not be the main beneficiaries of an anti-distress programme. Loan waivers penalise honest farmers who repay on time and can discourage them from doing so. With KALIA, Naveen has refused to write off farm loans. Meanwhile, he is helping maintain repayment discipline in the banking system.