Drought hit areas to get over Rs.800 crore: Pawar

Drought hit areas to get over Rs.800 crore: Pawar

The central government Wednesday said it will allocate over Rs.800 crore for drinking water, extend the limit of the rural job plan by an additional 50 days and relax crop loans for farmers to mitigate the impact of drought in affected areas.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar noted that overall rain deficiency in the country was 8 percent and said: "We can expect reduction in production of pulses and coarse cereals, but rice sowing is normal."

He said an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on drought has decided to allocate over Rs.800 crore to drought affected Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for drinking water schemes.

According to Pawar, 142 sub-divisions in Karnataka, 132 in Gujarat, 122 in Maharashtra and five districts in Rajasthan are drought affected.

The money would be released by the rural development ministry before Sep 30.
The government has relaxed the submission of utilisation certificates for the same till Dec 31, 2012.

The EGoM also decided to enhance the number of man-days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREG) from 100 to 150. the minister noted that monsoon data provided by the India Meteorological Department was misleading in a few cases.

Besides, the centre's share in fodder production units has been increased from 50 to 75
percent and fodder concentrate cost would be subsidised by 25 to 50 percent for six cattle per farmer.

The government would also bear an additional cost of Rs.261 crore for extending the 7 percent interest subvention scheme for farmers till March 31, 2013.