Bhubaneswar, Feb 8 (PTI) Odisha government Friday said in the Assembly that there should be no doubt over the utility of the state’s flagship Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme meant for overall development of farmers.

Replying to a debate on the Odisha Appropriation (Vote On Account) Bill, 2019, Finance Minister S B Behera said, “Odisha Government’s KALIA scheme has earned appreciation from economists from across the globe. There should be no doubt over its utility,” Behera said.

The minister said this after Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra’s criticism to the scheme.

Mishra had said the scheme was legally weak.

“How can you identify share croppers when there is no such legislation in the state? Odisha Land Reform Act has not been amended and therefore, the government will not be able to identify share croppers,” he said.

The finance minister, however, said the state government has decided to provide financial assistance to 50 lakh farmers families.

Apart from small and marginal farmers, the KALIA scheme also covers share croppers and agricultural labourers, Behera said.

Behera said the KALIA scheme covers 92 per cent of families dependent on agriculture.

This apart, the minister said, the state government has also made provision of KALIA Scholarship for the children of KALIA scheme beneficiaries.

The state government will provide financial assistance for higher education of farmers’ children in state run colleges and professional institutions, Behera said.

“For 2019-20 fiscal, the state government has made an allocation of 4461 crore for KALIA scheme. The leader of opposition should have no doubt over the scheme,” Behera said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.