Mumbai: The Budget session of Maharashtra Legislature got underway in Mumbai on Wednesday, with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao announcing that the BJP-led government in the state has disbursed Rs 2536 crore to the drought-affected farmers.
"The state is facing drought for the fourth successive year and nearly 15750 villages are adversely affected in the current Kharif season," Rao said addressing a joint sitting of the Houses.
"The Central Government has approved relief assistance of Rs 3049-crore, which is the highest-ever central assistance given to Maharashtra. My government till date has disbursed an amount of Rs 2536-crore to the drought affected farmers," he said.
"My government has decided to extend relief assistance to the people who suffered crop loss, house damage due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm during the year 2015. The Central Government has revised the Norms of relief Assistance under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF)," he said.
Accordingly, the state government has adopted the enhanced financial assistance norms with effect from 1st April, 2015, he said.
"My government has taken a decision to waive three months' interest on the crop loans availed by the farmers who lost their crop due to natural calamities during November-December 2014 and February-March 2015.
"Considering the recurrent crop failures due to natural calamities, my government took a decision to restructure crop loans, waived the interest on loans and stayed the recovery of loans. As a result of these decisions, Banks restructured about Rs 3,500 crore of crop loan into medium term loans, which have benefited nearly 5.5 lakh farmers.
"Due to restructuring of outstanding crop loans, the District Central Cooperative Banks of Akola, Washim, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Nasik were able to extend fresh crop loans of Rs 405 crore to nearly 1,16,000 farmers whose loans were so restructured," he said.
To help the farmers in drought affected areas, 33 per cent of the current electricity bills have been waived. On the lines of ‘Krishi Sanjeevani Scheme’, ‘Paani Sanjeevani Scheme’ has been started, which will benefit 50,000 drinking water schemes of local bodies, Rao said.
For strengthening of the power infrastructure in drought affected areas of the state, substantial financial assistance is being provided to Mahavitaran, he said.
Rejuvenation of farming in drought affected areas is the biggest challenge before the state. To conserve and harvest every drop of rain water and to utilise it judiciously for farming is the need of the hour, he said.
Since the time the "Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan" was launched in December 2014 with the purpose of providing permanent measures to overcome adverse conditions in the drought prone villages about 1,33,000 works have been completed, creating a Water Storage potential of around 6,90,000 TCM. About 5,182 villages have been selected for this purpose for the year 2016-17, he said.
To give an impetus to the Water Conservation works in the drought-prone areas of the state the Maharashtra State Water Conservation Corporation will be provided a grant of Rs 10,000 crore up to the year 2025 as share capital assistance, he said.
My government has launched "Jalswaraj Programme-II" with World Bank assistance of nearly Rs 900 crores and state share of Rs 385 crores.
A special campaign for Vidarbha and Marathwada regions has been launched to energise agriculture pumps with assistance of Rs1,000 crore, he said.
"Under Atal Solar Krushi Pump Scheme, about 10,000 Solar Krushi Pumps are being provided to the farmers in drought-prone area.
"Farmers are required to pay only 5 percent of the cost of the pump with no recurring energy bill and no maintenance charges.
"The government has fixed a target of constructing 1 lakh wells under MGNREGA in the coming 3 years. In 2015-16, 31,000 wells have been completed so far," he said.
"My Government has declared ‘Magel Tyala Shet Tale Scheme which will promote sustainable agriculture. In its first phase about 52,000 farm ponds will be taken up.
Nearly 6,800 Malgujari Tanks in the districts of Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nagpur having irrigation potential of about one lakh hectares were constructed about 300 years ago and these tanks are presently in need of repair. So far, 1,400 tanks have been repaired under various schemes, and state government intends to take up more such tanks for repairs in the coming financial year, he said.