Even though the monsoon is here, the state’s drought woes are far from over.
The Centre is unlikely to grant the state’s demand for a Rs4,269-crore package for drought mitigation soon, as the demand does not fit in the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rules, under which the central government provides monetary assistance to states. The state will get aid only if the NDRF rules are tweaked or as a special case.
The state government sought the second package in May, after 13,853 villages were added to the list of drought-affected. It took the total number of villages hit by the crisis to 29,610.
The NDRF rules say the Centre will provide financial assistance to a state in case of a natural calamity for 90 days. In case the period gets extended, the state will have to bear its expenses. In case of Maharashtra, the drought mitigation measures started in October and continue till date, sources from the state relief and rehabilitation department said.
“The state is providing relief to farmers affected by drought for the past nine months. The Centre has already granted more than Rs3,000 crore,” sources pointed out. Last month, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis got an assurance of help in tackling drought from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after which the state government sent a proposal seeking Rs4,269 crore. “The state will still be able to get financial aid from the Centre as a ‘special case’. We are trying our best to get as much relief as possible,” said a senior official.