THE UNION government on Tuesday announced financial assistance worth Rs 4,714.28 crore for Maharashtra to tackle the drought prevailing in the state. This comes days after the Fadnavis government in the state sanctioned Rs 2,900 crore to help farmers who have suffered losses due to drought.
The decision was taken by a high-powered committee headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. The money has been sanctioned from the National Disaster Relief Fund. Besides Maharashtra, five other states and one Union Territory have been provided funds, worth Rs 7214.30 crore in all, to tackle for floods, draught and cyclone damage.
Last October, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had sought financial aid worth Rs 7,962 crore from the Centre. This was after the state government declared drought in 151 of the total 355 talukas in Maharashtra.
An official in the CMO said, “In a clear departure from the past, the state government had declared drought and started relief measures during the winter. As a result, even the process of seeking financial aid from the Centre was expedited… it was done in October, last year. In the past, the decision to declare drought and seek relief package from the Centre was always taken during May-June.”
Thus, the funds sanctioned by the Centre are likely to reach the state during February-March, the official added.
Though the Centre has not sanctioned the entire Rs 7,962 crore sought by the state, officials said that Rs 4,714.28 crore is one of the highest packages that the state has received in the last decades.