The Odisha BJP on Thursday demanded an “impartial inquiry by an independent agency” into what it called was “misappropriation of Rs 170 crore” in KALIA Direct Benefit Transfers through payment of Rs 5,000 to 3.4 lakh ineligible beneficiaries,
Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation scheme (KALIA) states that all eligible farmers, who own 2.5-5 acres of agricultural land, will be provided Rs 10,000 per family as assistance for cultivation. Each eligible family has received Rs 5,000 for the previous agricultural season.
Odisha BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, “We have raised concerns about ineligible beneficiaries from before the elections. When the government does not have the list of beneficiaries, how is it implementing the scheme?”
On Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo had said, “There was a survey of who was eligible and ineligible, 12,000 large farmers have been identified, 9,000 payees turned out to be minors, 20,000 turned out to be government employees or pension holders. Overall, it (number of undeserving beneficiaries) will come to 3 lakh.”
This statement prompted questions from the BJP and Congress as to how so many ineligible beneficiaries crept in. Later, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb clarified, “The number of 3.41 lakh beneficiaries is dispersed across four categories… So if you use the word ‘aniyamita’ (ineligible) for beneficiaries, then this is the number (32,000).”
The state government released a statement. “Out of 51.05 lakh beneficiaries, only 32,000 have been found to be ineligible … That the ineligible beneficiaries are less than 1 per cent shows the robustness of the process followed in the scheme.”
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