In a big relief to Karnataka, the central government on Thursday approved Rs 795.54 crore funds to the state to provide relief for farmers who lost their rabi crops in 2016 due to the drought.
This decision was taken by the high-level committee headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and senior bureaucrats were also part of the committee.
The HLC approved the transfer of the Rs 795.54 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), media reports said.
â€śThis amount, however, is not even close to half the amount sought by the Karnataka government. Chief Minster Siddaramaiah had sought Rs 3,310 crore from the Centre,â€ť Karnataka Agriculture Minister, Krishna Byre Gowda and Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, told media persons.
The two Karnataka Ministers had met Rajnath Singh before the committee meeting and demanded an early decision on the drought relief.
â€śWe are glad the committee meeting was scheduled today and the decision has finally been taken. Though the relief amount is lower than our demand, it is higher than the Rs 607 crore that was sanctioned for rabi crop loss in 2015-16,â€ť Gowda added.
The Minister, however, said that this would benefit the farmers only if there are no delays in the release of funds to the state. â€śEvery year, there is always delay in sanctioning of the funds after the high-level committee decides on the amount. There was three months delay in release of funds for kharif crop loss in 2016-17,â€ť Krishna Byre Gowda added.
Gowda said that if the funds are released immediately, farmers can prepare for the kharif crop this year. â€śKarnataka is ready with the technology platform for transparent transfer of relief funds directly to the bank accounts of the affected farmers,â€ť he added.
After six consecutive years of drought, Karnataka has received fairly good rains so far except in eight districts. â€śThe state is keeping a close watch on monsoon and taking all measures to help farmers during the ongoing sowing season of summer crops,â€ť he said.