Nearly 92 percent of Odisha’s farmers are small and marginal. The state has a high prevalence of tenant farmers and sharecroppers with no formal land records along with a high degree of vulnerability to natural calamities. All these conditions together necessitated the creation of a comprehensive package to alleviate the state’s agrarian distress. In December 2018, the Government of Odisha launched Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation or the KALIA Scheme, a direct income transfer scheme, with an annual allocation of Rs.2,175.66 crore.
The scheme with its focus on inclusivity intended to not just benefit the small and marginal farmers but also sharecroppers, tenant farmers and landless agricultural households.
The key elements of the scheme include:
- Unconditional cash transfers of Rs.10,000 made annually to the landowners and tenant farmers of the state in two instalments of Rs.5,000 per farm family per season.
- A livelihood cash support of Rs.12,500, paid in three instalments to the state’s landless agricultural households.
- Prioritizing fund transfers to the female member of the household wherever a female bank account was available.
As a result, nearly one-third of KALIA beneficiaries were women.• Leveraging technology to deploy a framework to identify beneficiaries by combining self-reporting with state verification using existing databases.
- Leveraging technology to deploy a framework to identify beneficiaries by combining self-reporting with state
This study delves into the policy thinking and implementation framework behind the KALIA scheme. The scheme is unique as it provides a pathway to include those who do not possess formal land records (women, sharecroppers, tenant farmers, landless agricultural households) in addition to the landholding farmers. KALIA has effectively used a combination of technology and policy tools to uplift the state’s agricultural workforce. The KALIA experience therefore offers lessons for other states and the central government on making farmer income support schemes inclusive.