Maharashtra to observe 2016 as 'Year of Farmers Self-respect'

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government will observe 2016 as the "Year of Farmers Self-respect" at a time when the state is battling severe drought and agrarian distress.

Presenting the state Budget for 2016-17 in the Assembly, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar announced that 2016 will be observed as "Shetkari Swabhiman Varsha" (Year of Farmers Self-respect) in view of the prevailing drought in parts of Maharashtra and problems faced by agriculturists.

While presenting a revenue deficit budget, he made substantial budgetary allocation - of Rs 25,000 crore - for various agricultural schemes to boost the farm sector.

Besides this, the Finance Minister made substantial allocations for 26 major schemes, out of the total 58 schemes and programmes of the BJP-led Government.

This includes allocation of Rs 90 crore for Mumbai Metro III project, Rs 15 crore for modernisation of Sassoon Docks and Rs 300 crore for the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Yojana (health care scheme).

Mungantiwar set aside Rs 1,000 crore for "Jalyukt Shivar", the Government's flagship water conservation and management programme.

A sum of Rs 350 crore has been earmarked for installation of CCTV cameras in Mumbai and major urban cities. In a bid to improve female sex ratio, the Government allocated Rs 25 crore for "Majzhi Kanya Bhagyashri", a scheme targeted at girls from BPL families.

An amount of Rs 110 crore has been set aside for the Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Loan Concession scheme aimed at farmers. Since the United Nations (UN) has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses, the Budget allocated Rs 80 crore for increasing production of oil seeds and pulses.

A sum of Rs 2,000 crore has been allotted for building farm ponds as part of anti-drought measures. While Rs 1,855 crore has been earmarked for Crop Insurance Scheme, a sum of Rs 62 crore will go towards the Decentralised Foodgrain Purchase scheme.

A sum of Rs 112 crore has been earmarked for the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Tribal Nutritious Diet scheme. A budgetary allocation of Rs 170 crore has been made for various programmes being held to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Mungantiwar allocated Rs 7,850 crore for various irrigation projects and also to tackle water scarcity. Besides this, Rs 170 crore has been allocated for the National Rural Drinking Water scheme and Rs 3,473 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNEGS).

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