Mohan Charan Majhi chairing cabinet meeting

Cabinet: Focus on KALIA Yojana and PM-KISAN amid new developments in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi, today approved a series of significant proposals aimed at fostering cultural preservation, enhancing worker welfare, and expanding farmer benefits. Notable among these initiatives are the corpus fund for cultural revival, an increase in minimum wages for workers, and the inclusion of more farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.

Cultural Preservation and Promotion

The Cabinet has allocated a substantial Rs 200 crore corpus fund for the revival and promotion of Odia culture, art, and heritage. This initiative includes the establishment of the Odia Asmita Bhawan, a palm leaf manuscript museum, and the Odia Translation Akademi. Additionally, efforts are being made to develop the Paika Rebellion Memorial, create an e-library, and set up Odia chairs at both national and international universities. The Chief Minister emphasized that the fund will also support the ‘Kalakar Gouraba Nidhi Yojana,’ providing financial assistance for training in Odissi music and dance. A committee of experts will oversee the implementation of these projects, ensuring effective utilization of the funds.

Enhancing Worker Welfare

In a move to improve the livelihoods of workers, the Cabinet approved a hike in minimum wages across various categories. The wages for unskilled workers will increase from Rs 352 to Rs 450, for semi-skilled workers from Rs 392 to Rs 500, for skilled workers from Rs 442 to Rs 550, and for highly skilled workers from Rs 502 to Rs 600. This decision reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring fair compensation and better working conditions for the labor force.

Focus on Agriculture: KALIA Yojana and PM-KISAN

The inclusion of additional farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme is a significant step towards enhancing agricultural welfare. Around 5-6 lakh more eligible farmers, including medium and large farmers as well as those in urban areas, will now benefit from this scheme. Previously, these farmers were excluded due to criteria set by the KALIA Yojana under the previous BJD government.

KALIA Yojana (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) was an initiative by the Odisha government aimed at providing comprehensive and flexible support to farmers. It included financial assistance for cultivation, livelihood support for landless households, insurance, and interest-free crop loans. While it significantly benefited small and marginal farmers, certain eligibility criteria inadvertently excluded medium and large farmers.

PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) is a central government scheme providing direct income support to farmers across the country. Each eligible farmer receives Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments. By expanding the coverage of PM-KISAN in Odisha, the state aims to bridge the gaps left by KALIA Yojana, ensuring more farmers receive timely financial aid.

Reviving Irrigation Facilities

The Cabinet has also earmarked Rs 144.38 crore for the revival and strengthening of defunct irrigation facilities over the next five years (2024-2029). This initiative is crucial for improving agricultural productivity and ensuring sustainable water management practices in the state.