The state government Monday declared 11,000 villages drought-free and said its flagship project, the Jalyukta Shivar, had created a water storage potential of 12 lakh thousand cubic metres. In the last two-and-a-half years, 2.5 lakh projects have been completed, according to the government. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, while addressing the joint sitting of the State Legislature Assembly and Council on the first day of the budget session, outlined the broad policies of the state government. However, greater thrust was on the agriculture reforms undertaken by the government with a clear target to double the income of the farmers within five years.
While disclosing that Rs 33,115 crore in crop loans were disbursed to 48 lakh farmers in 2016-17, the state government released Rs 894-crore compensation for the crop loss.
The impetus on climate-resilient agriculture practices, adequately backed with higher allocations, was a pointer to the government’s objective to not only bring down farm suicides but make farming sustainable.
The government indicated that the ongoing jalyukta shivar project, which has become a people’s movement, would be further scaled up to cover all drought-prone villages.
However, out of 25,000 drought-hit villages, 11,000 have become drought-free, it said. Which means, the remaining 14,000 villages will be taken up in the third phase in 2017-18. So far, people’s contribution for the project has crossed Rs 500 crore. The state’s contribution is more than Rs 3,400 crore.
With 1.08-crore farmers enrolling for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna and 80 lakh having access to soil health card, Maharashtra has emerged as the leading state in enforcing these two ambitious projects. By year 2017-18, the state intends to bring all the farmers, including small and marginal, under these two schemes.
Through micro-irrigation scheme, 1.25 lakh hectares of land will be covered in three years. Whereas, completion of ongoing 26 irrigation projects under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana will create additional irrigation potential of 5.56 lakh hectares within three years.
While realising that only 56 per cent of the culturable command area can be brought under irrigation with available water by conventional gravity flow irrigation method, the government has decided to implement micro-irrigation method in the conventional distribution system. With this, it would be possible to reach the national average of 77 per cent.
The government has decided to introduce a project for climate-resilient agriculture. The World Bank-assisted ‘Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjeevani Project’ of Rs 4,000 crore is being rolled out to ensure drought-proofing of 4,000 villages in Vidarbha and Marathwada region. This project also aims to mitigate the soil and groundwater salinity problem in 1,000 villages of Purna river basin in the Vidarbha region.
Crop loan worth Rs 5,124 crore of 6.85 lakh farmers was restructured that enabled 4.39 lakh farmers to avail fresh loan of Rs 3,276 crore.
The nine district central co-operative banks were refinanced for a restructured crop loan of Rs 825 crore.