The state government accorded high priority to agriculture, rural development and irrigation sectors in its Interim Budget, presented before the Assembly Wednesday, allotting Rs 22,814.94 crore of the total Rs 99,000 crore sanctioned under the development plan.
While agriculture and allied sector was allotted Rs 9,568.95 crore, Rs 3,679.61 crore was allotted for rural development and Rs 9,566.38 crore for irrigation.
Though the government did not announce any new scheme in these sectors, sizeable funds were allotted to cater to the farming community, which constitutes around 55 per cent of the state’s population. Special emphasis was given to fast-track irrigation projects in backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
The government sanctioned Rs 2,000 crore to help drought-hit farmers. This is in addition to the Rs 2,909 crore it had disbursed and Rs 1,507 crore credited to the bank accounts of 42 lakh of the total 82 lakh farmers in the state, Finance Minister Sudhir Muntangiwar said. Meanwhile, Rs 8,733 crore was announced for water resources development.
The government’s flagship project, Jalyukta Shivar, was allotted Rs 1,500 crore. The target is to make 6,000 villages drought-free by December. Since 2015, Rs 4,049 crore has been spent on the scheme across 16,000 villages.
Moreover, while Rs 5,187 crore was proposed for micro-irrigation, irrigation wells, farm ponds and the employment guarantee scheme, Rs 3,498 crore was proposed for Bhausaheb Fundkar Horticulture Plantation Scheme and grant for agriculture instruments under the centrally-sponsored mechanised farming scheme.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana was allotted Rs 24,000 crore to waive the loans of 51 lakh farmers.
Meanwhile, promising to provide uninterrupted power to farmers through solar power, the government allotted Rs 900 crore for agriculture pumps. For Atal Arthasahay Yojana, the Interim Budget allotted Rs 500 crore.