The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which has been facing a revenue shortfall of almost Rs 40,000 crore due to the lockdown and subsequent economic slowdown, may have to shell out a whopping Rs 3,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation in the districts hit by heavy rainfall and floods. Preliminary assessment shows that 10.05 lakh hectares has been damaged in addition to roads and houses. The state cabinet is expected to meet on Thursday to give its approval.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, who reviewed the ground-level situation after visiting a few districts, recalled that the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had provided Rs 8,000 per hectares to the farmers during drought. “As per the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) criteria, the government will have to spend Rs 1,500 crore to provide assistance to farmers and another Rs 1,500 crore will be needed if the government decides to pay Rs 6,500 per two hectares. So, considering the damage caused to bridges, houses and embankments, the government may have to mobilise Rs 3,000 crore and spend on relief and rehabilitation at the earliest,” he said.
Wadettiwar reiterated that he will discuss the matter with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackray and, thereafter, the state cabinet will take a final decision.
Already Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who had also visited the flood-hit areas, has said that the state government will have to make additional borrowings in addition to seeking the central government’s assistance to provide aid to the farmers.
As reported by Free Press Journal, the state government, during April-September 2020, has already borrowed a record Rs 59,000 crore against Rs 22,500 crore during the corresponding period last year. The state reported earnings fell by 34 per cent at Rs 14,400 crore in September against Rs 22,000 crore in the corresponding period last year. The government’s revenue collection for the April-September period is to the tune of Rs 99,000 crore against Rs 1,30,400 crore during the same period in 2019.