MumbaiMore than 60% of Maharashtra’s farmers have been hit by drought this year, with around 86 lakh hectares of land and 82 lakh farmers in 151 tehsils and 20 revenue circles being affected, the state government told the Assembly on Thursday.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state has already chalked out a mitigation plan of Rs 7,522 crore, for which a memorandum has been sent to the Centre asking for assistance.Fadnavis, replying to a debate on drought and the measures the government has taken so far, said the state has made budgetary allocation of Rs 3,000 crore on its own, without waiting for the Centre’s assistance. “Around 66.81 lakh hectares of non-irrigated land and 62 lakh farmers who hold it, and 14.97 lakh hectares irrigated land cultivated 15.59 lakh farmers have been affected by the drought. Further, 3.97 lakh hectares cultivated for horticulture by 4.55 lakh farmers have also been hit, according to an assessment by the state administration. After announcing drought in the last week of October, the state has made sure to take all necessary steps to mitigate it,” the CM said.During the debate, the Opposition alleged the state government was not serious about dealing with the situation, and also claimed the government’s flagship water conservation scheme, Jal Yukta Shivar (JYS), had failed. The Opposition demanded an immediate commencement of a fodder depot and cattle camps, to help drought-hit farmers who own livestock. It also raised questions over the state’s crop insurance scheme, alleging that the insurance companies gained as the claim settlement amount was much lower than the total premium paid to them.“It would not be appropriate to call the JYS a failed scheme, as it has huge public participation and has shown results. If the ground water level has dropped, it is because of increased abstraction of the ground water level. The production of agricultural increased to 223 lakh metric tonne in 2016, from 193 lakh metric tonnes in 2013, despite lower rainfall. In 2017, too, when rainfall was 84%, the production was 180 lakh metric tonne. This shows the success of the JYS. Drop in the groundwater level could not be linked with the scheme,” Fadnavis said.Fadnavis added that the government will soon start the cattle camps wherever required. “More and more farmers are opting for crop loans. Our government gave Rs 11,417 crore as payout from 2014 to 2018, against the premium of Rs 1,694 paid by government and farmers. During the Congress government, the payout was Rs 1,436 crore against a premium of Rs 455 crore,” the CM pointed out.