The first budget of Maharashtra's MVA government, presented in the assembly on Friday, has made a provision of Rs 7,000 crore for the ambitious Mahatma Jyotirao Phule farm loan waiver scheme, the total outlay for which is Rs 22,000 crore.
The outlay for the scheme, which aims to write off crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh pending as on September 30, 2019, for the current fiscal was 15,000 crore. The budget for 2020- 21 has provided Rs 7,000 crore for the scheme.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the budget for 2020-21.
So far, a sum of Rs 9,035 crore has been transferred to the accounts of farmers, Pawar told the Assembly.
Announcing two additional schemes, he said farmers having arrears of more than Rs 2 lakh, taken during the period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2019, will be given a Rs 2 lakh benefit with respect to loan outstanding as on September 30, 2019 as a one-time settlement.
Under this scheme, the state government will pay Rs 2 lakh to eligible farmers after the outstanding amount above Rs 2 lakh is paid by them.
Farmers who will make regular payments till June 30, 2020, will get a benefit of Rs 50,000 for the crop loan taken in 2018-19, and if the amount taken by the farmer is less than Rs 50,000, then he he will be given an incentive equal to the loan amount taken.
Pawar said the Centre had approved only Rs 956.13 crore to be paid as compensation to farmers who faced crop loss due to monsoonal floods in July-August last year and untimely rains during October-November.
The finance minister said the state had demanded Rs 14,496 crore for the purpose from the Centre and maintained the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had provided assistance to farmers from its own coffers.
The budget has also made an outlay of Rs 3,254 crore for agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, while a special programme, called 'Chief Minister Water Conservation Scheme', will be implemented at a cost of Rs 450 crore.
Pawar told the House lack of repairs and maintenance was affecting water storage, adding that creation of 8,000 water conservation works will rejuvenate reservoirs, increase ground water levels and raise irrigation capacity.
A subsidy scheme, of 80 per cent to small and marginal farmers and 75 per cent to multiple land holders, for drip irrigation for crops will be extended to across the state from the few talukas it is currently in place.
He said the government intended to bring sugarcane under drip irrigation system in the next three to four years by getting sugar mills to take part in the scheme, and giving relief on interest to participating farmers.
A total of five lakh agricultural solar pumps will be set up over the next five years at a total cost of Rs 10,000 crore, for which a provision of Rs 670 crore has been proposed in the 2020-21 budget.