The Karnataka government Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the central government seeking a relief assistance of Rs 2,064.30 crore to drought-hit farmers in the ongoing rabi season.
The state revenue minister R V Deshpande called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh and apprised him about the severe drought prevailing in the southern state. State Agriculture Minister Shivashankar Reddy was also present in the meeting.
Submitting a memorandum seeking Rs 2,064.30 crore central assistance for drought-hit farmers in the rabi season, Deshpande requested the minister to consider releasing higher amount for those affected due to drought during the kharif season as well.
It may be noted that the Centre had released Rs 949.49 crore to the state government against the demand of over Rs 2,400 crore to provide relief to farmers who incurred crop loss during the 2018 kharif season.
"The amount released to the state for the kharif-drought was less because it was calculated as per the previous guidelines. Whereas for Maharasthra, higher amount has been provided based on the new norms," Deshpande told reporters after meeting the central minister.
Earlier central drought guidelines provided for relief amount for crop loss of up to 33 per cent incurred in the state, while new norms allow for crop loss up to 50 per cent, he said.
"We have asked the Centre to release additional amount for kharif-drought based on new drought guidelines," he added.
According to the state government, Karnataka -- which faced drought during the kharif season of the 2018-19 crop year (July-June) -- has declared 156 taluks out of 176 in 11 districts as drought-hit during the rabi season as well, incurring an estimated crop loss of about Rs 11,384.47 crore.
The drought hit areas are located in north interior Karnataka which account for nearly 90 per cent of the total rabi area in the state.
As per the official data, the rabi crops were sown in 27.89 lakh hectare this year as against 31.80 lakh hectare in the year-ago. About 3.91 lakh hectare is unsown.
The state government informed the Centre that the water level in reservoirs has depleted and it has decided to use existing water for drinking water purpose as the first priority.
It also demanded the Centre to release payment dues of over Rs 1,000 crore under the MGNREGA scheme.