The Election Commission has said that it had
stopped Odisha’s Kalia Scheme and West Bengal’s Krishak Bandhu scheme under the
Model Code of Conduct on the grounds that the schemes had incomplete
information about beneficiaries.
Relevant information about beneficiaries is
necessary to ensure the states are extending benefits to only existing
beneficiaries and not enrolling new ones during election season. In 2005, EC
had notified that beneficiary projects where specific beneficiaries by name
have been identified before coming of the Model Code of Conduct into force can
be continued, even after elections are announced, without any reference to EC.
EC’s response comes in the backdrop of
allegations by Odisha and West Bengal state governments. The state governments
had accused EC for being biased and complained that implementation of Krishak
Bandhu and Kalia scheme were stopped even as implementation of the Centre’s
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) was allowed.
“Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income
Augmentation” (Kalia) scheme of Odhisa is a direct cash transfer scheme for
small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers. It seeks to
provide financial assistance of Rs.25, 000 per farm family over five seasons to
small and marginal farmers so that farmers can purchase farm inputs use
assistance towards labour and other investments. Further, financial Assistance
of Rs.12500 will be provided to each landless Agricultural Household for carrying
out agricultural allied activities.
Krishak Bandhu Scheme of West Bengal provides
all farmers with a financial aid of Rs. 10,000 on an annual basis, which is to
be paid in two instalments (Kharif and Rabi season).
PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM Kisan) provides
for a direct income support of Rs 6,000/annum to small and marginalised