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Rs 714.20-cr drought relief announced
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 4
The government today decided to release Rs 714.20 crore to the 12 drought-affected states for relief work.

The Centre has already released Rs 483.56 crore under the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF). A further amount of Rs 714.20 crore towards the second instalment will be released now to the 12 states, an official note said.

It said though the full impact of monsoon deficiency would be known only after 10 days, the government was gearing up to provide quick relief in the affected states during the initial period of August and September.

The government has set up a Task Force on drought, headed by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

The government has also released Rs 538 crore under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP). But the affected states are required to provide matching grant for availing these funds. Of the Rs 538 crore, Rs 53.80 crore would be used for repair and renovation of existing drinking water resources, the note said.

To tackle the problem of loss of employment in rural areas due to drought conditions, the Ministry of Rural Development has released the first instalment under the Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana to states. The note did not quantify the sum released under the scheme but said the second instalment of cash and foodgrains could also be released by relaxing the conditions, if demanded by the states.

State governments have also been asked to channelise the ARWSP funds to affected districts on priority. The states have been permitted to meet the expenditure on the transport of drinking water from the CRF.

The affected states have been told that the cost of transportation of fodder could be met from the Calamity Relief Fund to tackle the problem of scarcity of fodder.

The Reserve Bank of India will direct the commercial banks to reschedule crop loans in view of crop failure. Similar instructions will be issued by Nabard with regard to loans provided by cooperative banks.

The Calamity Relief Fund will also provide for subsidy on agricultural inputs for small and marginal farmers.

The Task Force had its first meeting on August 1.
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