Bangalore: The Centre on Thursday asked the state government to send a fresh proposal for assistance to tackle drought. The proposal would be discussed during Group of Ministers (GoM)meeting in New Delhi on August 7 or 8. The memorandum submitted by the government had less to do with measures required to tackle drought and more about structural problems that Karnataka is facing. We have asked them to send a fresh proposal in next few days, said Union RuralDevelopment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Ramesh was speaking to reporters after a drought review meeting attended by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, state ministers, state and Central government officers in Vidhana Soudha on Thursday. Ramesh said the fresh proposal should focus on immediate measures as well as long term programmes to tackle drought. Do not go by those numbers as state governments normally send such proposals during drought, He said. He was replying to a question on the Centre releasing only Rs 282 crore when the state had asked for Rs 5,864.25 crore as grant.For contingency action plan, the state had asked for Rs 250 crore while Centre agreed to release Rs 286 crore. The Centre will also release an additional of Rs 700 crore for MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) programmes and the minimum number of days for providing employment to an individual under the programme has been increased from 100 to 150 days a year, he said.
Pawar said the Centre is aware of the situation in Karnataka and they have come to get the first hand information. According to Pawar, the Centre will give subsidy on seeds to help farmers to resow, allow import of oil cake without any duties and try to improve the power situation. Karnataka has decided to procure fodder from Punjab. Since transportation will be a problem I advised them to encourage farmers to grow fodder wherever possible with a promise that government will procure it, he added.
Giving a presentation on the drought situation, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said that in the first memorandum on November 21, 2011, the state had asked for Rs 2,605.99 crore. The Centre had approved Rs 186.68 crore and released only Rs 70.23 crore. In the second memorandum presented on May 5, we asked for Rs 5,864.256 crore but the Centre released only Rs 282.35 crore. Compared to the magnitude of the problem, the relief is totally insufficient, said CM.