The Maharashtra government has decided to grant Rs 10,000 crore to boost water conservation in the drought-prone districts of Maharashtra. The funds will be routed as share capital assistance to the Maharashtra State Water Conservation Corporation, the nodal body executing projects with the objective to make the state drought-free by 2019.
This and several other policy reforms in core sectors — both rural and urban — along with the government’s progress report were outlined by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao during his address to members on the first day of the Budget Session at Central Hall in Vidhan Bhavan.
In the backdrop of the drought, the government’s emphasis on rural agriculture and economics took centre stage in the report. It reflected the special drive to provide both agro and industrial impetus to the backward Vidarbha and Marathwada, including total exemption of VAT, Rs 1,000-crore assistance for agriculture pumps and the food security act, which has benefitted 68 lakh families.
The restructuring of Rs 3,500-crore bank loans and interest waiver has helped 5.5 lakh farmers in drought-hit districts. As a result, the district central cooperative banks of Akola, Washim, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Nashik were able to extend fresh crop loans of Rs 405 crore to nearly 1,16,000 farmers whose loans were so restructured, Rao said.
The chief minister’s flagship project Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan has completed 1,33,000 projects across 6,200 villages leading to water storage capacity of 6,90,000 thousand cubic metres. In the second phase, the government will extend the initiative to 5,182 drought-prone villages. Under the Jalswarajya-2 scheme, the state has given its share of Rs 385 crore for the Rs 9000-crore scheme, being undertaken with the aid of World Bank.
While emphasising on industries in drought-prone and backward districts, the government has decided to strengthen infrastructure, complete with roads and power.
Under integrated development of agriculture, 21 projects have been approved to provide assured market links to farmers through public and private partnership models.
Under the Atal Solar Krushi Pump scheme to make farmers self-reliant, the state will provide 10,000 solar pumps. The farmer will have to pay only five per cent cost of the pump with no recurring energy bills or maintenance charges.
To check farmers suicides, health programmes such as “Prerna Sankalp” have been implemented. The “Hinduhri-daysamrat Shivsena Pramukh Balasaheb Thackeray Niradhar Swavlambhan Yogna” helps widows of deceased farmers.
The government stressed on its textile policy to boost industry and employment, which has resulted in banks sanctioning 1,127 projects with investment of Rs 11,000 crore and 64,000 jobs. Referring to the Make In India Week, the government said it attracted Rs 8-lakh-crore foreign direct investment with a job potential of 30 lakh.
The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Arabian Sea has been given all clearances and would be completed before 2019.
To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the government has drawn up plans to develop Wardha-Sevagram-Pavnar area.