The Odisha government on Thursday shed its initial hesitation to implement the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKSN) - a central scheme aimed at providing income support to small and marginal farmers - and agreed to extend all possible assistance for implementing it in the state, news agency PTI has reported.
Chief Secretary AP Padhi made the announcement after reviewing the state's Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (Kalia) scheme. He said that the PMKSN, aimed at providing Rs 6,000 per annum to small and marginal farmers with cultivable land of up to two hectares (about five acres), will be launched in Odisha on February 24 along with other states.
PTI quoted Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Secretary Saurabh Garg as stating that a list of 12.45 lakh first-phase beneficiaries of the Kalia scheme will be given to the centre for inclusion in the PMKSN. The first instalment of Rs 2,000 will then be directly transferred to the beneficiaries' bank accounts on February 24. This initiative will be completely funded by the Union government.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier responded to a letter from the centre about the farmer welfare scheme by saying that his government's Kalia scheme is more progressive and inclusive. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 11, he demanded that the cash incentive be increased to Rs 10,000, and landless farmers, share-croppers and distressed farmers be included under the programme.
In the days that followed, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan slammed the Naveen Patnaik government - stating that it was not implementing the scheme solely for fear that all the credit would go to PM Modi. On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath criticised Patnaik for "depriving the farming community of a chance to take advantage of the central scheme". Both attributed Mr Patnaik's response to the fast-approaching Lok Sabha elections.
(With inputs from PTI)
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.