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KALIA scheme of Odisha and its lesson for India

Synopsis: The Odisha government’s KALIA scheme aims to provide Direct Income Support(DIS) to farmers. The design and implementation of the scheme offer some important lessons to the DIS schemes everywhere.

Introduction:

In India, the Agricultural reforms generally aim to find new solutions to the structural challenges facing farmers. The shift to direct income support (DIS) from the traditional non-targeted agriculture subsidies is the most important one among them.

Few important schemes in this regard are,

  • Odisha’s KALIA scheme – Under the KALIA scheme, Each farmer’s family gets Rs. 5,000 separately in the Kharif and rabi seasons. It is irrespective of the amount of land.
  • Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu – In this scheme, the government provides Rs.4000 per acre per farmer per season to cover the input costs 
  • The Centre’s PM-KISAN scheme – Under this scheme, an amount of Rs.6000/- per year is transferred in three instalments of Rs.2000/- directly to the bank accounts of the landholding farmers’ families.

But the Odisha government’s KALIA scheme offers some important lessons for DIS schemes everywhere.

Some unique steps under KALIA Scheme:

Odisha used a three-step framework for KALIA Scheme. This is called the “Unification-Verification-Exclusion” framework. This framework is used to identify the beneficiaries of the scheme. The important point of the framework are,

  1. Unification: This is the first step. It involves creating a unified database with “green forms”. These green forms are essential for farmers who wanted to avail benefits under the KALIA Scheme. This has led to the creation of 1.2 crore applicants.
  2. Verification: In this step, the unified data get verified. The databases like the Socio-Economic Caste Census, National Food Security Act and other databases are used in the verification process. Similarly, Aadhaar and bank account also got verified to avoid duplication.
  3. Exclusion: In this step, the focus is on the exclusion of ineligible applicants. This includes applicants like government employees, taxpayers, large farmers, and those who voluntarily opted out.
Advantages of the KALIA Scheme’s three-step framework:
  1. Towards inclusive agricultural policy-making: The use of technology and non-farm databases under the KALIA scheme helped to include sharecroppers, tenant and landless farmers as beneficiaries. This facilitates inclusiveness in agricultural policy.
  2. World Bank evaluation of the KALIA Scheme suggests that the beneficiaries are less likely to take out crop loans. Further, Those who take crop loans also take only a smaller amount of loans compared to non-beneficiaries.

Lessons from the KALIA scheme:

  1. Better leverage of data: Any government targeted scheme can use the reliable data collected under the KALIA scheme for service delivery. So the other DIS schemes should aim towards forming such reliable data.
  2. Proof of Data Security: Odisha government obtained the consent for use of citizen data under the KALIA scheme. The data was also kept under a secure firewall. Further, access to data was only available to relevant officials on a need-to-know basis. Other GovTech platforms must use these “privacy by design” principles in data handling.
  3. Effective grievance redressal: The KALIA scheme established an online grievance redressal mechanism (GRM). This online platform is accessible to farmers “offline” at the Common Service Centres closest to them. Using this, nearly 10 lakh grievances were received and resolved. The GovTech platforms should establish such an effective redressal mechanism.

The KALIA scheme has more lessons for the governments on the way of constructing a social welfare system for farmers.

Source: The Indian Express

 

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