Nagpur: The centre has agreed to fund 25% of the 15,325 crore irrigation projects planned for Maharashtra. The central government has sanctioned 3,831 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) to complete the 91 irrigation projects, Maharashtra’s minister for water resources Girish Mahajan told the legislative assembly on Wednesday.

The projects, which will come up in Vidarbha and Marathwada, besides other drought-prone regions, will add 376,915 hectares to the state’s irrigation potential, Mahajan said.

There will be 83 minor and eight medium to big projects, he said.

The state will raise the remaining 11,494 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) as debt, the minister said.

When senior Nationalist Congress Party legislator and former finance minister Jayant Patil pointed out that raising such a huge amount of debt would not be easy, given that there was a limit to a state’s borrowing capacity, Mahajan said the loan was already sanctioned by Nabard at 6% for 20 years.

Responding to another question, Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the state’s budget for 2018-19 estimates the total debt at 4.61 trillion.

The centre’s decision to part-fund the irrigation projects gains significance given that only 18% of Maharashtra’s total cultivable land, or 22.5 million hectare, is irrigated while the national average is over 35%.

This is despite Maharashtra accounting for 35% of the total number of irrigation projects in India.

Mahajan said the state was also requesting the centre for more funds to finance 21 more irrigation projects under PMKSY.

“We expect a grant of 5,500 crore from the central government. We have made 40,000 crore available for the state’s irrigation sector for the current financial year," he said.

With the recent round of 3,831 crore, the total share borne by the centre was 21,000 crore, Mahajan said, adding that it was the biggest assistance given to any state under the (PMKSY).

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