With the discontent growing in rural Maharashtra in the backdrop of the agrarian crisis, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday roped in senior Mantralaya bureaucrats to tide over the trouble.
The Maharashtra government is apparently replicating Narendra Modi government’s move to extend compensation to all those farmers who had suffered over 33 per cent crop damage. The earlier cap was set at 50 per cent. It also increased the compensation for crop damage on lines of the formula adopted by the Modi government.
The crop compensation has been increased from Rs 4,500 to Rs 6,800 per hectares for dry land, Rs 9,000 to Rs 13,500 for fertile land and Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 for horticulture to farmers who have suffered crop damages.
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After a severe drought crippled kharif crop production in the agrarian state, unseasonal rains have ravaged rabi crops, contributing to a spurt in farmer suicides cases. Farmers in the state are blaming the Fadnavis government for not stepping in or doing enough to help the distressed families.
Fadnavis on Tuesday appointed senior Maharashtra bureaucrats to oversee relief and mitigation measures in suicide-prone districts.
Accordingly, six senior IAS officers, who head departments in Mantralaya, have been appointed to take over efforts in areas in Vidharbha’s Yavatmal and Marathwada’s Osmanabad, which have witnessed the most number of farmer suicides this year.
All the six officials head crucial departments of the state. One of them is even an additional chief secretary with the government. Unrest has turned into anger in several rural areas against the policies of Fadnavis-led government less than six months after it came to power.
The Maharashtra cabinet too on Tuesday attempted to pacify the anger among farmers.
Ordering a survey to ascertain reasons behind high farmer suicide rates in these districts, Fadnavis has directed the officials reach out to distressed families and chart out ways to involve communities in halting farmer suicides.
A press communication issued by the CMO said that the secretaries have been given powers to effectively implement all state schemes including employment guarantee, restructuring of farm loans and loan waiver, among others.
They have also been asked to put in place models to ensure good market price for farm produce, besides launching a campaign to discourage social ills such as alcoholism.
Required to visit areas assigned to them at least once every fortnight, the bureaucrats have also been granted powers to order localised changes in government decisions in order to improve their efficacy and outreach.
Fadnavis has also asked them to ensure that his ambitious pet initiative-Jalyukt Shivar-aimed at a ‘drought proof’ Maharashtra are completed in these districts before June 15.
The Chief Minister will review reports from these bureaucrats once every fortnight.