Maharashtra has allocated Rs 26,345.29 crore for the state’s farm sector in this year’s Budget. Work on all the major projects under agriculture and irrigation, which were launched in last three years, will continue along with new plans to channalise the farm produce for the benefit of farmers, the government said. The state Budget has accorded high priority to the agriculture and irrigation sector. Of the total Rs 26,345.29 crore, allocation for the agriculture sector is Rs 18,112.17 crore and irrigation (water resources) Rs 8,233.12 crore.
The flagship project “jalyukta shivar”, which has helped to make 11,454 drought-hit villages water-sufficient, got higher priority in the Budget. Special provision of Rs 1,500 crore has been made with a target to make 5,000 villages drought-free by the end of the year. It has been adequately backed with “farm ponds on demand”, which has caught the imagination of farmers, specially in small and marginal districts of Vidarbha and Marathawada region.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the schemes are oriented to make farmers self-reliant and double their income. Through ‘jalukata shivar’ a total of 4,25,000 water conservation works, in 11,454 villages, have helped create storage of 16.82 one thousand million cubic feet, according to the the government. Besides, 880 lakh cubic meter of silt has been removed through public participation. The land brought under irrigation is 21 lakh hectares.
Under the Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchan Yojna, Rs 3,115.12 crore has been earmarked to facilitate completion of 26 irrigation projects in Maharashtra. Apart from these, another 50 projects, out of the total 225 ongoing, have been identified for completion within a year. The aim is to bring 2.26 lakh hectares of land under irrigation and create a water storage of 853 million cubic metres. An allocation of Rs 750 crore has been made to give electric connections to 93,322 agriculture pumps.
In the last three years, 3.20 lakh agriculture pumps received electric connections, leading to expenditure of Rs 3,014 crore. Under the Vidarbha Marathwada Agriculture Pump Electricity Connection Special Scheme, 1.43 lakh agriculture pumps were given electricity connections, for which Rs 1,392 crore was spent.
The government intends to bring 145 major market committed in the state on e-NAM (e-National Agriculture Market), a Centre-state initiative, to get rid of middle agents in the Agriculture Produce Mortgage Scheme (APMC) and ensure higher remuneration to the farmers for their yield. The Agriculture Produce Mortgage Scheme through certified godowns in APMC is being promoted. Almost 1,600 market committees have availed this scheme and more than 1,06,000 quintals of farm produce have been kept under mortgage. The farmers have been given loans at a nominal 6 per cent interest rate on the mortgaged farm produce.
As part of water management and intense cropping, an allocation of Rs 432 crore have been made for drip irrigation scheme. For farm ponds and wells in farmers fields, Rs 160 crore has been allocated, aimed at creating 98,000 wells within year. Till now, it has completed 82,559 wells to provide sustained water and help small and marginal farmers in rural areas.
To encourage farmers to adopt organic farming, government has introduced new schemes, making a primary allocation of Rs 100 crore. Under the chief minister’s agriculture and food-processing scheme to provide better markets and price for farm produce it set aside Rs 50 crore. The government has said that under its scheme farmers get debt waiver up to Rs 1.50 lakh irrespective of
land-holding size. It also provides incentive scheme of up to Rs 25,000 for farmers, who have repaid loans promptly. So far, banks have been permitted to grant loan waiver to 46.34 lakh farm loan accounts, amounting to Rs 23,102.19 crore.