Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said there is a need to shift from 'relief and rehabilitation' and focus on investment in the agriculture sector to make the state drought-proof in the next five years.

Devendra FadnavisDevendra Fadnavis

"Due to climate changes, the rainfall patterns have changed drastically, which has impacted sowing seasons.

Traditionally, governments have provided short-term crop loan, which is not investment, or if crops are damaged due to unseasonal rains or drought we provide relief in terms of money," he said at an event organised here.

"But this is not sustainable and we need to bring a paradigm shift in the way we handle such situations," Fadnavis added.

He said there was a need to invest in agriculture instead or just providing relief packages to farmers.

The BJP-led Government in Maharashtra has declared "drought" in over 29,000 villages of the state, mostly in parched Marathwada and Vidarbha regions where the grim situation was earlier described as 'drought-like.'

"We have to actually invest in agriculture. We need to create water structures and ensure its efficient utilisation, invest into cropping patterns among others. We have taken various initiatives under the 'Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan' and we are hopeful that in the next five years we will be able to make the state drought-proof," Fadnavis added.

Fadnavis also said there was a need to shift focus from agriculture to secondary and tertiary sectors to create employment.

"Nearly 45-50 per cent of state population is dependent on agriculture which has a share of only 11 per cent in the GSDP. We therefore need to shift the pressure on agriculture to secondary and tertiary sectors and take agriculture to value addition for creating employment," he said.

The CM further said after creating a textile park in Amravati, his government is planning to set up an apparel park in the district.

"If we create such value addition sources, we will be able to shift the load on the agriculture sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors for creating more jobs," he added.

According to Chief Minister, the proposed Rs 30,000 crore Mumbai Nagpur super communication expressway will be a game changer as it will give a much needed boost to farming in the under developed Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra.