3.41 lakh fake Kalia scheme beneficiaries got Rs 170 crore

Odisha government has found out that the state's flagship Kalia scheme has around 3.41 lakh fake beneficiaries who have been provided over Rs 170 crore under the farmers' welfare programme, a minister said here on Tuesday.

Steps are being taken to recover the financial assistance received by the fake beneficiaries.

According to the provisions of the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (Kalia) scheme, only one person per family can be eligible for the benefits.

But a large number of families were found, in which more than one member were made beneficiaries. The number of such people is about 3 lakh, Agriculture and Farmers' Empowerment Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo said.

Other fake beneficiaries of the scheme included 12,000 large farmers, 9,000 children, 20,000 government employees and pensioners, the minister said.

These ineligible people have been provided more than Rs 170 crore under the scheme, Sahoo said.

"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," the minister said.

Last year, 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.

He said large farmers who had received assistance under the Kalia scheme will be encouraged to refund the amount as they will get an aid under the PM-KISAN scheme.

In case of bogus beneficiaries belonging to government employees' families and pensioners, Sahoo said the money will be recovered from their salary or pension.

Of 51 lakh beneficiaries, there are over 36 lakh small and marginal farmers and share croppers. There are more than 14 lakh landless agricultural households.

The minister said the financial assistance to eligible beneficiaries for Kharif-2019 will by provided by September.