With pressure mounting over the rise in farmer suicides and farm loan waiver, the state government on Sunday demanded a financial package of Rs10,000 crore from the Centre for the development of rural areas. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis made the demand in the Niti Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Fadnavis sought financial help of Rs10,684 crore. That includes around Rs7,100 crore for 14 districts affected by farmer suicides and around Rs3,500 crore to complete pending irrigation projects in the drought-hit districts of the state, the sources said.
The state government has prepared a comprehensive plan to curb the rising number of farmer suicides in the 14 districts. It comprises around 107 long- and short-term schemes and completion of major irrigation projects, which is part of the ‘Vision Document 2030’ of the state prepared on the directives of Niti Aayog, the sources revealed.
Fadnavis said, “We have demanded maximum investment from the Centre for completing pending irrigation projects and a focused programme for districts affected with farmer suicides.”
He said the state government wants farming to be made profitable by increasing the profit of the farmers twofold. Thus, the vision document has special emphasis on the development of rural areas.
In addition, the chief minister also requested the Prime Minister to compensate Rs3,390 crore against the abolition of local bodies tax (LBT) of the urban local bodies. The state government had abolished LBT on August 1, 2015, and has been compensating the losses to the civic bodies since the past two years.
The LBT was introduced in the state in April 2013, replacing octroi in all municipal corporations except Mumbai. However, traders opposed it claiming it will burden them with unnecessary paperwork and lead to harassment at the hands of municipal inspectors, who may take advantage of minor errors.