Bhubaneswar: In an apparent bid to woo the farming community in the election year, Odisha's first Agriculture Budget offers free mobile handsets to 20,000 farmers and health insurance scheme for ailing peasants, among other things.
The announcements were a part of the state's Agriculture Budget, estimated at Rs 7,161.84 crore, for 2013-14.
"A sum of Rs 2 crore has been provided to give free mobile phones to 20,000 farmers to access market information under Digital Mandi Scheme. It is proposed to provide mobile phones costing about Rs 1,000 per set," Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, who presented the Budget in the Assembly, said today.
Acharya announced the new Rs 100 crore Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana (BKKY) to provide health insurance for farmers. The BKKY, on the lines of Rastriya Swasta Bima Yojana (RSBY), to treat most of the diseases that requires hospitalisation to all farmers including diary and fish farmers, he said.
The benefit will be available to five members of the family, including the head of the household, his spouse and three dependants.
"Unlike RSBY, this scheme will ensure universal coverage and will not be restricted only to BPL families. In case of critical illness, assistance over and above this insurance will also be available from Odisha State Treatment Fund," Acharya said.
The health insurance cover will be for Rs 30,000 as available under RSBY, he said.
"Rs 305.90 crore is provided towards interest subvention on 2013-14 to make the short-term crop loan available at the rate of 2 per cent subject to timely repayment," he said.
Stating that there is a need to provide long lasting benefit to the poor fishermen, the state government earmarked Rs 2 crore for providing Rs 70,000 to fishermen's families. "It is proposed to provide 10,000 houses every year for three consecutive years from 2013-14," the finance minister said.
The agriculture budget also has provision of Rs 4.60 crore for distribution of IKSL SIM card to about one lakh fishermen with facility of receiving five free voice messages for the areas of immediate importance to them.
The agriculture budget also made provision of Rs 150 crore to provide separate dedicated feeders for ensuring reliable power supply to the agriculture and fisheries sector under a new scheme in 2013-14, Acharya said.
First Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 22:22