Published On : Thu, Dec 17th, 2015

CM announces 10,512 Cr relief package for 14 drought hit distts in Maharashtra

Nagpur: In a move to bring some respite for the drought hit farmers of the State, particularly in Vidarbha region, the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced a package of Rs 10,512 crore for the distressed farmers in 14 drought-hit districts in the State. However he back tracked the proposal for loan waiver and instead initiated the move to come up with the said relief package.

The package included direct financial aid of Rs 7,412 crore to the cotton and soyabean growers, Fadnavis announced, while replying to the debate in the State Legislative Assembly on drought situation in the State.
Categorically refusing to give farmers loan waiver, the chief minister said the agrarian crises can be solved only by increasing investment in the agriculture sector. He announced several schemes which aimed at increasing the investment in farm sector.

Noting that decentralised water conservation is the need of the hour, he said to promote this, the government will give direct aid to the farmer who will volunteer to have pond in his or her farm.
Rs 2,500 crore will be spent on this work in the next five years, including Rs 250 this financial year, he informed.

Fadnavis said 33,000 wells will be dug to provide water source in the farm itself. Rs 750 crore will be spent on this work. Similarly, Rs 1,000 crore will be spent to power agriculture pumps while a financial aid of Rs 200 per quintal will be given to the paddy growers in the state.

The chief minister said money lenders from one tehsil have given loans to farmers from other tehsils. This has come as a jolt to the government’s efforts to free farmers from debt-trap. But the government has now decided to waive all such loans of the farmers, he announced, adding nearly 79,000 farmers will be benefitted from this decision.

On loan waiver, which almost washed out the first week of the Winter Session with the Opposition sticking to its guns demanding nothing short of ryots’ loan waiver, Fadnavis refused to give one. Pointing out that a chief minister should not say no to loan waiver, he said it was not the only way to solve the agrarian crises and stop suicides. More than 22 per cent farmers do not take institutionalized loans. As a result, banks, and not farmers, get the benefit of loan waivers, he added.

Fadnavis said his government is working on increasing investment in farm sector instead of giving loan waiver. Bringing farmers within the ambit of institutionalized investment and increasing their stake in crop insurance will be more beneficial.

Taking a dig at the Opposition, Fadnavis told the Lower House that his government provided to the farmers assistance to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore, something which the Democratic Front government could not do in five years.

Calamity calls for support

Talking to reporters after making the announcement, Devendra Fadnavis said natural calamity has hit the state, and not the state government. Therefore, the government needed full support of the Opposition. The government and the Opposition together will have to fight the odds, he added.