The chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday revealed that centre has sanctioned Rs 2,000 crore drought relief package to Maharashtra. The state is also hoping the centre would concede their demand for higher allocations for crop and horticulture losses due to hailstorm which is still awaited. Today’s decision was confined to drought relief package. State is seeking at least Rs 1,000 crore more by conservative estimate.
The union home minister Rajnath Singh convened a meeting Tuesday in Delhi to discuss the financial allocations to drought hit areas across country. The union minister for agriculture Radhamohan Singh, union finance minister Arun Jaitely et al were present at the meeting. At the end of the meeting centre conveyed the decision to Fadnavis.
A visibly pleased Fadnavis said, “This is the highest financial drought package offered by centre to Maharashtra.” While, I acknowledge we have a formidable task ahead to tackle the agrarian crisis posed by drought coupled with periodical hailstorm and unseasonal rains, centre’s positive consideration to our proposal will prove very helpful.
Fadnavis was quick to make a distinction that the financial package was confined for drought relief alone. And that the efforts of the state government to seek additional allocations from the centre to tackle the losses due to hailstorm and unseasonal rains is still awaited.
Apart from this the state government is also working with various central departments namely ministry of agriculture and ministry of rural development to link the centre-state schemes to reap the benefits to drought hit Vidarbha and Marathwada. A senior secretary in ministry of agriculture revealed to Indian Express, “ Although centre has granted Rs 2,000 crore to combat drought, we would pursue with them to enhance the allocations in the coming months. We had send a proposal seeking Rs 6,000 crore for drought.”
Till date the state government has already spend Rs 4,000 crore as drought relief. Asked why state which is reeling under drought for the third consecutive year could not bargain for higher allocations, Fadnavis said, “ While we don’t underestimate the challenges ahead, let us not overlook the factor that this is highest ever package from centre to state for drought.”
The chief minister said, “ I am saying it big package because previous governments (Congress-NCP) never got more than Rs 600 and Rs 700 crore for drought.” And they would send the proposals of Rs 14,000 crore, he added. Not to forget the union agriculture minister was Sharad Pawar at centre.
Asked to comment on former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s big pckage after he toured the Vidarbha reeling under farmer’s suicide (2004-06), Fadnavis said, “ The package was essentially loan waiver and long term drought mitigation plans over the years.” Today, what we received is for drought relief which is highest ever received by state.
Congress-NCP government used to send the proposals demanding Rs 14,000 crore. But the maximum they managed to get was between Rs 600 and Rs 700 crore.” The chief minister pointed that the package after prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Vidarbha which is often cited by Congress-NCP was loan waiver in the backdrop of farmer’s suicides in six districts of Vidarbha.
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