OdishaPlus Bureau

This whole episode is not only shameful but also is disturbing


This is something incredulous and serious too. The Naveen government has found out to its utter dismay that the state’s flagship Kalia scheme has around 3.41 lakh fake beneficiaries. These bogus beneficiaries have siphoned over Rs 170 crore under the farmers’ welfare program. This revelation by none other than the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo – who occupies a prominent place in the Naveen Patnaik government – should be an eye-opener not only for the government but for all concerned.

After this disclosure, the government began damage control and has said that steps are being taken to recover the financial assistance received by the forged beneficiaries.

arun sahoo

According to the minister, other fake beneficiaries of the scheme included 12,000 large farmers, 9,000 children, 20,000 pensioners, and even government employees. These ineligible people have been provided more than Rs 170 crore under the scheme. The minister has warned that if the fake beneficiaries do not refund the amount, the family head or eligible person will not get further installments till the amount is returned. That is a bold step no doubt. But the question is how things have come to such a pass and who will be held responsible for the falsification and mass loot of government funds?

farmer loan

According to the provisions of the much-touted and much-advertised provisions Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (Kalia) scheme, only one person per family can be eligible to get the benefits. But a large number of families were found, in which more than one member was made beneficiaries. The number of such people is about 3 lakhs.

It may be recalled that last year a just few months before the assembly elections, the state government had launched the Kalia scheme for helping the small and marginal farmers, share croppers, landless agricultural workers and labourers.

As per the provision of the scheme, each beneficiary was entitled to get Rs 5,000 per crop and one can get Rs 10,000 as financial assistance for two crops in a year. Of the 51 lakh beneficiaries in Odisha, there are over 36 lakh small and marginal farmers and share croppers. There are more than 14 lakh landless agricultural households.


When Kalia scheme was launched aggressively with huge advertisements in the media, many eyebrows were raised at that time about the haste with which the idea was implemented. The opposition had accused the government of luring the voters through Kalia. Some had also doubts about the effectiveness of the scheme.

As exposed by the minister now, large or big farmers too had received assistance under the Kalia scheme. Of course, they will be encouraged to refund the amount because this farmer category will get assistance under the PM-KISAN scheme. As promised by the minister, in the case of bogus beneficiaries belonging to government employees’ families and pensioners, the money will be recovered from their salary or pension. But will the minster’s order work down the level given the hand-in-glove by the lower bureaucracy and the party leaders?

This whole episode is not only shameful but also is disturbing. On the one hand the government advocates for transparency, honesty and other such homilies; yet there is no one in command of doing things properly. The freebies like the Kalia scheme which the Naveen government has been giving over the past one year are simply draining money from the exchequer. It neither helps the poor farmer nor the intended beneficiary. We have seen this in case of ration cards and yesteryear’s Indira Awas Yojana.


  1. 5T is another mockery for us. How come a junior officer prevail upon the senior bureucrats like sr secretaries, principal secys, addl chief secys n chief secretary to impose it. Are not they under it’s purview? Are the ministers and others availing the same status are not within it’s purview?

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