Pune: In an effort to aid drought relief measures in Maharashtra, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will converge its watershed development projects with Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).
The proposed move -- to be implemented during fiscal 2013-14 -- will help fight the drought situation in the State, a NABARD regional office spokesman said, adding the manpower under MNREGS and funds for watershed development together could ensure faster completion of various projects.
He said as part of the NABARD programmes, warehouses and godowns, too, will be set up in rural areas of the State, where over a dozen districts are facing severe water scarcity.
"Lakhs of people in rural areas of the State seeking employment under MNREGS can get jobs in watershed development projects," the official noted.
He said NABARD has also sanctioned projects covering rural connectivity, irrigation and watershed development schemes worth Rs 10,010.63 crore, of which Rs 7,021.51 crore was disbursed during the last financial year (2012-13).
The regional office of the bank has disbursed loans to the tune of Rs 7,348.39 crore for agriculture and rural development across Maharashtra during the last fiscal which was 22 per cent higher as compared to the previous year, the official added.
Last month, the Centre approved a Rs 1,207-crore drought relief package to Maharashtra. Of it, Rs 807 crore will be released under the National Disaster Relief Fund to 3,905 villages where drought has affected rabi crops.
The rest Rs 400 crore will be released under the National Horticulture Mission to 1,100 villages where drought has hit kharif crops.
Buldhana, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded, Aurangabad, Jalna, Jalgaon, Dhule, Ahmednagar and Satara are some of the worst drought-hit districts in the State.