Centre directs Maharashtra to World Bank for drought aid
With states, such as Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, already demanding special economic relief package, the UPA government has asked Congress-led Maharashtra government to knock World Bank’s door to raise funds for its drought-relief plan.Updated: Jun 05, 2013, 23:45 IST
With states, such as Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, already demanding special economic relief package, the UPA government has asked Congress-led Maharashtra government to knock World Bank’s door to raise funds for its drought-relief plan.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan met Union finance minister P Chidambaram and some other ministers seeking a centrally-sponsored package of almost Rs. 70,000 crore to build irrigation facilities to combat drought.
But Chidambaram offered partial help and pointed out to Chavan that given the good fiscal health of the state, it should take World Bank loan to tackle drought. As the state’s fiscal deficit stands only at 1.4% of its GDP, finance minister feels that the Congress-NCP government has a comfortable head space to borrow money.
“We will get Rs. 10,000 crore for three years from the Centre. We will have to raise Rs. 30,000 crore from elsewhere and manage around Rs. 15,000 crore from our state’s own resources,” Chavan told HT.
The state government has already pumped in Rs. 2,000 crore to ensure “not a single cattle dies” due to drought and farmers are expected to get reimbursement of almost Rs. 3,000 crore for the last year’s crop failure.
“We sought Centre’s package for de-silting of canals and farm ponds and also to make special ponds with thick plastic base to prevent loss of water. A part of the package would also be used for fodder,” Chavan told HT.
But the ordeal may not be over, as Chavan is keeping his fingers crossed for the upcoming monsoon.
The Union agriculture ministry, however, is worried as some predictions show that Maharashtra may get less rainfall in June.