The Centre on Tuesday approved Rs 2,000-crore relief fund for areas affected by drought and unseasonal rains last year in Maharashtra.
The package was cleared by the Centre at a meeting of the high-level committee (HLC) of National Disaster Management, headed by home minister Rajnath Singh.
"The HLC today sanctioned Rs 2,000 crores for year 2014 under National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for drought affected areas of Maharashtra," agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said in a statement.
The approved amount is four times higher than Rs 500 crores sanctioned as relief for 2013 drought, he added.
While announcing the package, Rajnath Singh said that the relief package approved for Maharashtra was the highest ever and four times higher than the one sanctioned by the UPA government in 2013.
The chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis termed the relief package as the 'largest ever' and 'historical' one any state has ever received.
Fadnavis thanked the Centre for the 'unprecedented' package and added that it will help the state government to offer respite to the farmers in the distress. "No other state has received such a huge relief package ever. Even before it was announced by the Centre, the state has already release sizable fund and more than 80% of it has been credited in the bank accounts of the farmers," he said.
Maharashtra had faced severe drought last year due to poor monsoon, affecting crop yields and drinking water supply. The crops on 1.12 lakh hectare, in more than 24,000 villages, were damaged.
The committee examined the proposals based on the inputs of the central team, which visited the affected areas.
The Maharashtra government had requested for a package of Rs 6,013 crore to offer respite to the approximate 90 lakh farmers. The state government has already released the fund of Rs 4000 crore from its kitty.
It has also announced relief in electricity bills, school fees, restructuring of the existing loans of the farmers hit by the agrarian crisis.
(With inputs from PTI)