Mumbai: Maharashtra government's farm loan waiver scheme is unprecedented in its beneficiary coverage, particularly among farmers in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao said Monday.
He was addressing the joint sitting of the state legislature, on the opening day of the budget session here. The opposition Congress-NCP boycotted Rao's address to protest against his recent remarks about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
As part of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, Rs 24,000 crore were sanctioned for 51 lakh farmers accounts and of this, Rs 18,036 crore have already been transferred to over 43 lakh farmers, he said.
The state government is working on a new piped distribution network for irrigation which would cover an area of 6.15 lakh hectare, he said.
On the BJP-Shiv Sena led state government's commitment for better farm produce prices, Rao said the government procured 40.10 lakh quintals of pulses, 2.62 lakh quintals of soyabean and 19.47 lakh quintals of 'chana' during the Kharif season 2017-18.
The state government paid Rs 3,121 crore to over five lakh farmers as Minimum Support Price (MSP), he said.
To give relief to onion producing farmers affected by a steep fall in market prices in 2018-19, the government has decided to grant subsidy of Rs 200 per quintal to those who sold their crop through Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) during November 2018 and January 31, 2019, Rao said.
The Marketing Federation and the Tribal Development Corporation procured paddy/coarse grain through an online process and renumeration of Rs 486 crore was transferred into the bank accounts of over one lakh farmers, he said.
The governor said over 1.5 lakh irrigation wells have been built in the last four years and another 50,000 wells were under construction.
Around 1.30 lakh ponds were dug under the state government's 'farm ponds on demand' scheme, he said, adding that 22,000 villages will be made drought-proof by May this year under the Jalyukt Shivar water conservation programme.
Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the state government has been able to provide over six crore man-days of work and spent over Rs 1,800 crore in the current fiscal, he said.
Rao informed the legislature that 46 of 102 irrigation projects have been completed in Vidarbha to remove the development backlog of the region.