New Delhi, Aug. 3: Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra are making exaggerated demands for central funds citing the drought crisis, Jairam Ramesh claimed today.
The three states have respectively demanded Rs 14,000 crore, Rs 11,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore. The Centre claims these demands include long-term projects and loan waiver for farmers that are beyond handling the immediate drought situation.
“The drought is used as an opportunity for states to demand maximum funds from the Centre. Many of the demands have nothing to do with immediate management of drought situation,” the rural development minister said.
Along with agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, Ramesh visited the three states this week.
He said the drought situation in these states was critical and the Centre was ready to provide funds to immediately handle it. But demands for funds for long-term projects, such as watershed management, should be considered by the finance ministry and the Planning Commission.
“We have asked the states to divide their demand into two categories — those relating to contingency plans for immediate drought management and other long-term projects. The Centre is ready to provide funds to help the states meet their immediate contingency plans,” he said.
Ramesh said the drought situation in Karnataka was the worst in the last 40 years while it was critical in Maharashtra and Guajarat. Twelve out of 28 districts in Karnataka have been declared drought affected and 15 of 35 in Maharashtra. Gujarat has yet to finalise its list of districts.
As immediate support to the affected states, Ramesh has decided to revise the labour budget under the rural job scheme. The ministry has asked the states to resubmit their labour budgets.
The limit of 100 days of guaranteed work to a rural household would be revised to 150 days in drought-affected districts. The ministry has released Rs 1 crore to affected districts for drinking water.
Ramesh and Pawar will visit Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana next week.