Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday announced that his government is going to release the Kalia financial assistance to an additional 25 lakh farmers with immediate effect. He also said that the government has decided to do business worth Rs 1000 crore with the 70 lakh registered women SHG in the state for the economic empowerment of the women.

The first cabinet meeting, which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of chief minister Naveen Patnaik, passed resolution to this effect.

The Naveen Patnaik government had introduced the Kalia Yojana for the welfare of the farmers of the state on the eve of the general elections. It had distributed financial assistance to over 42 lakh farmers. Now the number of beneficiaries has been enhanced to 75 lakh, which is 33 lakh more than the existing 42 lakh families. The cash transfer to farmers account under Kalia would be started this week.

The government is proposing to do business worth Rs 1000 crore per annum with the Women SHGs in the state. Paddy procurement, school uniform, hospital diet, mosquito net and mid-day meal would be the activities in the first phase.