New Delhi: The Centre today asked the states
affected by drought to study the depth and magnitude of
distress and submit a memorandum to be eligible for assistance
out of the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF).
Unveiling an action plan to deal with drought, declared
in 246 districts across ten states, after a day-long meet with
state agriculture ministers, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad
Pawar said only six States have so far sent memorandum seeking
assistance under NCCF.
Pawar said the Central teams have either visited or are
in the process of doing so to these six affected States for
making an assessment of drought.
The high-level committee, headed by Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee, would decide on the funds to be released to
these States, based on the recommendation of the Central team.
Stating that the Centre has released Rs 1,472 crore so
far to 19 states under Calamity Relief Fund, Pawar said the
States have "money in the hand" to handle the situation.
Under the action plan, he said the Centre would provide
additional power from the central pool to the States for
irrigation, depending upon availability of surplus power.
He said the Centre would formulate "a scheme for large
scale sinking of shallow tubewells involving Nabard loans and
an element of subsidy for the farmers in drought affected
districts amenable to exploitation of ground water."
Besides, he said the Centre would ensure that seeds are
available to the States for late Kharif and Rabi seasons.