Maha Budget 2023-2024 has a slew of benefits for peasants

Mumbai:- Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a series of benefits for the state farming community intended to hike their income and prosperity, here on Thursday.

Tabling the state Budget 2023-2024, Fadnavis proposed a ‘Namo Shetkari Mahasanman Nidhi Scheme’ in which the state will provide an additional Rs 6,000 along with the Centre’s Rs 6,000 per annum to each farmer.

In the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme, the premium will be paid by the state government and the farmer would only pay a Re 1 registration fee, with an outlay of Rs 3,312 crore, and other eligible farmers of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkar Sanman Yojana will also be given their benefits.

Under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjmukti Yojana, Rs 4,683 crore has also been directly deposited into the bank accounts of 12.84 lakh eligible farmers till February 15, 2023.

Fadnavis proposed an outlay of Rs 3,000 crore in next five years under an integrated crop-based project plan for taluka-district wise groups of farmers.

The government will provide an incentive of Rs 15,000 per hectare to paddy farmers based on the area of cultivation without checking how much paddy has been sold under the scheme.

Previously, the farmers were given double the SDRF rate for losses due to natural calamities — barring persistent rains — under which Rs 7,093 crore was distributed to the affected peasants, but now it will be categorised and crop damage will also be compensated.

For farmers, the government will give Rs 2,00,000 to families of accident victims instead of an insurance scheme under the Gopinath Munde Shetkari Suraksha Grant Scheme, he said.

Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Shetkar Bhavans with facility of boarding and Shiv Bhojan Thalis shall be available to farmers at APMCs.

The state will set up a Maharashtra Sheep and Goat Cooperative Development Corporation to provide Rs 10,000 crore interest free loans for rearing these animals by the National Cooperative Development Corporation, in Ahmednagar.

Rs 1,000 crore will be spent for 22 schemes — on the lines of the Tribal Sub Plan — for uplifting the Dhangar community, said Fadnavis.

Farmers holding Orange Ration Cards in 14 distressed districts of Vidarbha-Marathwada will get Rs 1,800 cash per capita/year instead of foodgrains.

An area of 2.50 million hectares will be brought under organic farming in three years, 1,000 bio-input resources centres shall be set up, at a cost Rs 1,000 crore.

In Konkan, the government will set up a Cashew Board with an equity capital of Rs 200 crore, and the scheme shall be implemented in the entire Konkan, plus two talukas of Kolhapur district with Rs 1,325 crore outlay over the next five years.

The state will solarize 30 per cent of agricultural power pumps in three years to provide daytime electricity fo 9.50 lakh farmers, 1.50 lakh solar agricultural pumps through the Pradhan Mantri Kusum Yojana.

Other highlights were certain water supply schemes, River Linking Project for eliminating water deficits in Mumbai and Godavari Basin to benefit Marathwada and North Maharashtra, Wainganga-Nalganga-Painganga project to benefit drought-prone areas of Vidarbha region, and the Krishna-Marathwada Irrigation Project for 133 villages in Dharashiv and Beed, the Gosikhurd National Project will be completed in the next 15 months, special irrigation facilities for Konkan, etc.