Centre releases drought relief for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
Bengaluru/Chennai: The National Democratic Alliance government on Saturday said that it has released Rs1,712.10 crore and Rs1,235.52 crore for drought-hit states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, respectively, from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
The release of funds come at a time when farmers from both states have been seeking drought relief from the Centre. Consecutive droughts has also seen growing calls from other drought hit states for farm loan waivers to mitigate the losses. The cental government has been advocating crop insurance schemes to help farmers cope with deficient rainfall and crop losses.
The government has provided Rs13,240 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana (PMFBY) in 2016-17.
Both states, among others across the country, have been suffering from deficient rainfall resulting in acute drinking water shortage and large scale crop losses.
“Based on the above sanctions, a sum of Rs1,447.99 crore has been released to the State of Tamil Nadu by the Central Government from NDRF after adjusting Rs345.64 crore available with the State as balance in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF),” according to a statement issued by the Centre.
Farmers from Tamil Nadu have been protesting for nearly 20 days in Delhi, demanding drought relief package of Rs40,000 crore from the Centre, a farm loan waiver and setting up of Cauvery Management Board.
Earlier in the day, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president and leader of opposition M.K. Stalin, who met the agitating farmers in Delhi, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to waive off farmer loans as promised for Uttar Pradesh during the recent assembly elections.
In January, the Tamil Nadu government declared all 32 districts in the state as drought-affected and had also urged the Centre to sanction a sum of Rs39,565 crore from the NDRF.
Meanwhile, Karnataka is facing its second consecutive drought year as it has faced over 50% deficient rainfall this year. The state has also been directed to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu despite facing acute drinking water shortage that is expected to only get worse in the coming months.
The NDRF had earlier released Rs450 crore to Karnataka.
“These releases are over and above the releases made to States as devolution of 42% of Central Taxes as per the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission. For the year 2016-17, a sum of Rs6.08 lakh crore has been released to all States as devolution of Central Taxes,” the government said in a statement.
Of this, Tamil Nadu has received Rs24,538 crore and Karnataka has received Rs28,750 crore under devolution formula during 2016-17.