Maharashtra on Wednesday announced a Rs.10,512 crore relief package for the more than 15,000 drought-hit villages in 14 districts of the state’s Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the package in the assembly in Nagpur during a discussion on the drought situation. He rejected the opposition demand for a waiver in farm debt, stating that a previous one by the United Progressive Alliance benefited only the banks and was of no help to farmers with marginal land holdings.
Of the Rs.10,512 crore, Rs.7,412 crore will be direct financial assistance to cotton and soybean farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada. The remaining will be released as grants for the various long-term measures for farmers.
The state’s flagship programme Jalayukta Shivar that aims to conserve water by building small dams and farm ponds will get Rs.250 crore. It has so far covered 6,200 villages and another 5,000 villages have been identified. In the 6,200 villages covered so far, farmers have generated water capacity of 24 trillion cubic metres, Fadnavis said.
He said the government had already provided assistance worth Rs.10,582 crore to farmers in the past year. The scope of the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme has been expanded and it covers more than 8.2 million farmers of the total 10.3 million farmers in the state. Of the 8.2 million farmers, 4.2 million have been given insurance benefit worth Rs.1,800 crore, he said.
Under the food security scheme, more than 6 million tonnes of foodgrain have been provided to 10 million farmers, the chief minister added.
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