More than half of Maharashtra may face a drought-like situation this year. The government on Monday announced that 20,240 of the total 36,338 villages in the state are facing scarcity.
A village is declared scarcity-hit when the total yield and productivity in the village falls below the standards set by the state government.
Vidarbha has the highest number of affected villages (14,059) while Konkan has the lowest (two). Vidarbha’s suicide-affected, cotton growing district of Yavatmal has the highest number of scarcity-hit villages at 2,050.
A government release said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has admitted to a scarcity in the state. Senior Mantralaya officials attributed the problem to low rainfall. “There was a growing demand from political parties to announce a scarcity in most parts of the state,” said an official requesting anonymity.
Western Maharashtra seems to have escaped the crisis because of good irrigation. Only two districts, Satara (284 villages) and Sangli (380 villages), are on the list of affected regions.
Once a village is declared scarcity-hit, the government provides 50 per cent subsidy for fodder cultivation. The subsidy will apply to seeds and fertilizers as well. Farmers who have irrigation facilities will enjoy the benefit of this subsidy because they can cultivate fodder.
The government will buy this fodder and distribute it to needy farmers through fodder depots.