New Delhi: To offer some relief to farmers in drought-affected states, a ministerial panel has decided to increase the number of guaranteed work days under MGNREGA to 150 days and cut interest rates on crop loans to 7 percent for one year, according to sources.
These decisions were approved by the EGoM on drought headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, they said.
"In the meeting, various proposals were discussed. It approved slashing of interest rate on rescheduled crop loans of drought-hit farmers to 7 percent from 12 percent," a source privy to the development said.
The Agriculture Ministry had proposed interest subvention on such crop loans for at least five years, but the EGoM approved it for one year. The ministerial panel suggested that the ministry take the proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for approval, the sources said.
Another proposal on raising number of work days under the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) was also approved for implementation in drought-affected states for one year, sources added.
"The number of guaranteed work under the MGNREGA has been increased to 150 days from 100 days," the source said.
Four states -- Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan -- have declared drought in more than 390 taluks. Monsoon deficiency in the country has come down to 9 percent so far.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, are also members of the EGoM. They were, however, not present in the meeting.