The Centre decided on Wednesday to release a relief package of more than Rs. 2,892 crore for seven states, including Maharashtra, to help them tackle the impact of droughts, floods and landslides faced last year.
The decision was taken at the meeting of the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on drought, headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
Briefing the media, Pawar said: "There were a number of proposals from various states demanding central assistance to address drought situation, floods and landslides in 2012. We have approved the relief package, which is highest in the recent years."
Pawar said Rs. 1,207.84 crore has been approved for Maharashtra, Rs. 864.71 crore for Gujarat and Rs. 66.61 crore for Kerala to tackle drought. The EGoM also approved Rs. 54.49 crore relief package to Kerala that suffered floods last year.
Besides, Rs. 417.12 crore has been approved for Andhra Pradesh in the wake of cyclone Nilam, Rs. 115.32 crore for Himachal Pradesh, Rs. 93.76 crore for Sikkim and Rs. 72.76 crore for Uttarkhand due to cloud burst, floods and landslides.
The relief package, to be released under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), will be implemented from March 1, 2013, Pawar said.
The drought situation in Maharashtra is the worst seen in the last 40 years, Pawar said, adding that the EGoM has taken additional measures to help farmers tide over the situation. This would be over and above the relief package of Rs. 1,207.84 crore approved for the state.