The Karnataka government on Wednesday demanded Rs 17,901.73 crore in funds from the Centre to compensate farmers affected due to drought in the Kharif season this year.
Karnataka Agriculture Minister N Chaluvaraya Swamy, Rural Development Minister Priyank Kharge, and Revenue Minister Krishna Byregowda met Union Agriculture Secretary Manoj Kumar Ahuja and Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla separately and updated them about the drought situation in Karnataka.
The three state ministers are also members of the Karnataka Cabinet sub-committee on drought management.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Byregowda said, "We have sought a total drought relief of Rs 17, 901.73 crore as per the NDRF norms. We have requested the central government to clear the funds at the earliest.
As of September 22, the state as a whole recorded 26 per cent deficit rainfall that led to an estimated agriculture and horticulture crop loss in about 45.55 lakh hectares during the kharif season, he said.
The state has so far declared drought in 216 taluks and will examine the possibility of declaring more taluks as drought-hit in the first week of November, he said.
Out of Rs 17,901 crore estimated drought relief funds, the Revenue Minister said the state government for the first time has demanded Rs 12,577 crore as gratuitous relief to families whose livelihood has been seriously affected due to drought for 90 days.
The state has also demanded Rs 4414.29 crore for agriculture and horticulture crop loss during the kharif season (July-June) this year, while Rs 355 crore towards animal feed and Rs 554 crore for providing drinking water assistance in drought-affected taluks, he added.
The Karnataka government has estimated a total loss due to the crop damage in the state at Rs 33,770.10 crore. It has sought assistance of Rs 17,901.73 crore under the National Disaster Relief Find (NDRF).
Byregowda also said that the state government has requested the Centre to consider the latest number of small and marginal farmers which is 70 per cent of the state population while sanctioning the relief fund.
The state Rural Development Minister Kharge said he requested the Centre to release the pending Rs 600 crore MGNREGA funds to the state in a separate meeting with the Union Rural Development Secretary here.
"We have also sought an increase in the number of guaranteed man-days of work under the MNREGA for the state from the current 10 crore to 18 crore keeping in view the drought situation," he said.
Already, 10 crore man-days of work have been exhausted till now and more man-days of work is required to provide livelihood to people affected in drought-hit areas, he said.
"Right now, there is no problem of drinking water, but cannot say in the next 2-3 months. We need funds to arrange for contingency water requirement in drought-hit taluks," he added.
The state agriculture minister Swamy said he also discussed problems being faced in the implementation of the Centre's crop insurance scheme and sought some changes.