With the electoral season setting its pace, the Gujarat government Saturday announced a Rs 6500 crore aid for 96 rain-deficient talukas in the state. The announcement includes a special package of Rs 1,300 crore, wherein over 20 lakh farmers in 45 talukas will be given a lump sum amount of Rs 5300-6300 for every hectare of farmland they own. The state government had already declared 51 talukas that received 250 mm or less rainfall this monsoon as “scarcity-hit”.
“In a meeting chaired by chief minister Vijay Rupani at Gandhinagar, it was decided to extend the aid to 45 more talukas of 16 districts that have received between 250-400 mm rainfall. The state government will be providing a special package of Rs 1300 crore to these talukas,” said Nitin Patel, deputy chief minister while reading out a list of talukas which also includes Jasdan where an assembly by-poll is due in the coming days.
“For the 51 talukas that were earlier declared as rain-deficient Rs 5,100 crore will be spent. But if the special package is taken into consideration and the cost of providing 10-hour power supply and fodder to these areas then we will be spending over Rs 6,500 crore in 96 talukas of the state,” Patel added.
Listing out the details of the special package, Patel said on an average every taluka will receive financial aid of Rs 28-30 crore. “In the 14 talukas where it has rained between Rs 250-300 mm, the farmers will get a lump sum amount of Rs 6,300 per hectare,” he said adding that the aid will not be extended beyond two hectares. “For the 12 talukas where it rained between 300-350 mm, the farmer will per Rs 5,800 per hectare, while in the 19 talukas where it rained between 350-400 mm, the farmers will get Rs 5,300,” the leader remarked.
Claiming it to be the first such package to be declared by any government in the state, Patel said, “Without looking at whether a farmer has successfully harvested his crops or not, has received water for irrigation or not, we are extending the benefits to all the farmers in these 45 talukas. However, the aid will be extended to a maximum of two hectares. Farmers having more than two hectares of farmland can get benefit of up to two hectares only.”
Patel said the Rs 1,300 crore to be spent as a special package will be borne completely by the state government, while the Government of India will pitch-in for the Rs 5,100 crore assistance that will be spent on 51 scarcity-hit talukas. He also said that the state government has decided to extend the duration of jobs provided under MGNREGA to 150 days from the current 100 days in these areas.