Maha to draw Rs 2K cr from contingency fund to tackle drought

Maha to draw Rs 2K cr from contingency fund to tackle drought

The contingency fund has a limit of Rs 150 crore. The state cabinet approved temporary revision by Rs 2,000 crore.

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to draw Rs 2,000 crore from the state contingency fund for undertaking drought relief measures in 151 tehsils that have been officially declared as drought-hit.

The decision was taken at the state Cabinet meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

"It is a temporary arrangement made from time to time to draw funds to support the drought-affected people. The funds will be used for basic support like supplying water tankers and other programmes to be undertaken to tackle water scarcity till June," a government official said.

A note issued by the state government said, "The contingency fund has a limit of Rs 150 crore. The state cabinet approved temporary revision by Rs 2,000 crore. It will make available Rs 2,150 crore funds, which will be used to cater to the demands of 151 drought-hit tehsils of Maharashtra.

"A sizeable portion of these funds will be utilised for financial disbursement to farmers, who have lost their crops," it added.

The cabinet also cleared proposals to increase the funding for cotton mills in the state.

The decision is expected to benefit most of the cotton mills in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.

The cabinet also decided to launch the Chief Minister Cattle Health Scheme, under which 349 mobile veterinary hospitals will be set up.

In the first phase, 80 such hospitals will be set up in remote and hilly areas of Maharashtra, a Cabinet note said.

"The decision will have a wider impact as such medical support in the state was in demand since a long time, but nobody did anything. The Cabinet has now approved the proposal, which will help in saving the lives of cattle," the official said.

The note said that Rs 16.74 crore expenditure was sanctioned by the cabinet for this scheme.

The cabinet also restructured the funding pattern to cotton mills in the state, which will benefit the units from Marathwada and Vidarbha region. Earlier, the ration of sharing cost for setting up the cotton mill by share-holders, state and bank loan was 10:30:60.

It means members have to raise 10 per cent funding of the total cost, followed by the state government contributing 30 per cent and loan component was 60 per cent. The cabinet Tuesday revised it to five percent by the share holding members of the mills, 45 per cent by the state and 50 per cent bank loan, the note stated.

The cabinet also decided to take action against Pune-based Spicer Adventist University as alleged irregularities were found in its admission procedures. The shortcomings will also be pointed out to the UGC, it said.

"To avoid any educational loss of the students, the admissions taken in the academic year 2014-15 and 2015-16 will be continued till the course completes," the note said.

Other cabinet decisions include, converting non-used government owned lands into free-hold that will be available for private players to purchase and develop. The state aims to raise major corpus from it, it said.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to implement the Centre-sponsored Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, for schemes, including electrification, supply of LPG cylinders and providing insurance policies, among others, in rural areas.

Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is a two-phase programme rolled out by the central government to deliver benefits to all poor households in 66,028 villages of the country.

It covers benefits under seven flagship welfare programmes Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (for LPG cylinders, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (electricity connection scheme), UJALA programme (provision of LED bulbs), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Jan Dhan accounts and Indradhanush (universal immunisation programme).