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Drought Relief Package Announced for MP and Maharashtra

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Taking note of the alarming drought situation in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Union government has decided to provide a financial aid of Rs 5083 crores to the states. Out of the total amount Maharashtra will get Rs 3050 crore and Madhya Pradesh Rs 2033 crores. The money will be given from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), which is established to offer assistance to states suffering from disasters.

The decision was taken by a high level committee headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, after the proposals were examined. However, the last mile reach will depend on the state governments, as agriculture is a state subject.  Also while announcing the aid, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said UP has asked for an assistance of Rs 2000 crore, and it will be provided with good help.

However, questions have been raised about the transparency in disbursing the amounts and the accuracy in estimates. Earlier the Centre for Science and Environment, a green think tank has cited the existing lacunae in the relief disbursement process. It also stressed on the need to use technology for accurate and speedy crop damage assessment.

This year, almost 18 states are estimated to be hit by droughts owing to the deficit mosoon. Apart from Maharsahtra, MP and UP, the affected states include Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha etc. A total of 302 districts out of the 676 are in the grip of drought in India. Of the 18 states, 7 have so far formally declared drought.

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