How BALARAM can make its plough dent on ground? -Pranab Ranjan Choudhury and Arabinda Kumar Padhee
In yet another demonstration of commitment to its inclusive agriculture growth agenda, the Government of Odisha has announced the BALARAM Yojana to provide crop loans worth more than Rs 1,000 crore to the landless sharecroppers through joint liability groups (JLGs) in the next two years.
Lauded as one of the most inclusive income support/cash transfer schemes in the country, KALIA was announced in 2019 to help the small and marginal farmers, including landless sharecroppers. As a Covid-19 Kharif package, the State Government vide a Cooperation Department circular in April 2020, extended short term credits to tenants on oral leases, by asking PACS to reserve 10 per cent of their credit for JLGs. Following the NABARD guidelines, the State had earlier developed an operational guideline for JLG loan linkage in May 2018.
The State Agricultural policy, SAMRUDHI resolved this year, reflects Odisha’s inclusive intent upfront. It talks about making the growth process inclusive of small and marginal as well as landless farmers. Odisha is a State with high tenancy prevalence. The NSSO (2012-13) reported 36 per cent tenancy in coastal Odisha and sharecropping as dominant tenancy system (56 per cent). Odisha treats sharecropping as the synonym for tenancy.
In 2015, the State had tried to help sharecroppers with crop-compensation during cyclone Phailin relief and also input subsidy over crop loss during the drought. Odisha is in the forefront to help sharecroppers access also the benefit of minimum support price (MSP).
Since 2013, the State has provisioned Farmer Identity Card (FIC) for sharecroppers with the consent of the land owners to enable them to sell paddy at the MSP.
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The Pioneer, 10 July, 2020, https://www.dailypioneer.com/2020/state-editions/how-balaram-can-make-its-plough-dent-on-ground-.html