The Centre on Thursday directed six states to immediately inform it about drought-affected districts and submit memoranda for financial assistance. Most state governments have not forwarded their drought-relief proposals despite more than 300 out of the 600 districts in the country being under the grip of severe drought.
A central team for assessing the situation can be sent to the states only after the Centre gets memorandum in the prescribed format. Relief can be sanctioned to the states only after the Centre's team submits a report. The Union government cannot cannot declare any state as drought affected.
The agriculture ministry said in a statement: "In view of a sustained dry spell during the last kharif season, as also in the early rabi period in some part of the country, the Centre has asked the affected states to submit memorandum for drought assistance immediately."
The Centre's directive on Thursday was to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The ministry asked the states to apprise the Centre about the number of drought-affected districts and whether drought has been declared in these areas or not. The states have also been asked to submit the financial memorandum for assistance from the National Drought Relief Fund.
So far, Karnataka, Chhat-tisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have appro-ached the Centre for financial drought relief packages. Central teams have visited three of these states and is now touring Maharashtra to assess the assistance required, a statement added.