Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked Guardian Ministers of districts to launch relief measures and schemes from August 15 for farmers who are in distress due to drought, crop loss and other reasons.
He has given the direction in an August 10 letter sent to all Guardian Ministers, who are appointed to look after the development plans and related affairs of each district.
In a two-page letter, Fadnavis has asked them to launch schemes of digging one lakh wells, 50,000 farm ponds and implementing government decisions on restructuring agricultural loans and other policy initiatives.
The direction is more specific for Guardian Ministers of the eight districts of Marathwada, a region in central Maharashtra that is facing drought for a fourth straight year.
The Chief Minister has drawn his Cabinet colleagues' attention to the fact that last year also due to unseasonal rains and natural calamities the crop yield in 25,064 villages was below a level that indicated a scarcity-like situation.
In November-December 2014 and in February-March 2015 a series of hailstorm had caused widespread damage to the crops. This monsoon season again the rainfall has been scanty leading to crops in many areas wilting and the possibility of resowing diminishing with a prolonged dry spell.
Among the relief measures, those farmers who have paid their crop loan interests for 2014-15 within prescribed deadline will be exempted from paying interest for 2015-16.
Also, their short-term loans shall be restructured. Besides this, the Government will pay the interest on loans for the next four years (till 2019-20).
The National Food Security Scheme is to be implemented in all the districts of Aurangabad division and half a dozen districts of Vidarbha, where farmers have committed suicides.