The Union government on Wednesday approved Rs1,269 crore of drought assistance for Maharashtra. A panel headed by home minister Rajnath Singh decided on the aid at a meeting on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Maharashtra chief minister’s office said. The move was approved following the recommendations of a central government committee that inspected drought conditionsin Maharashtra earlier this year. This takes the overall compensation sanctioned to Maharashtra on account of drought to Rs4,318 crore, more than the Rs4,000 crore sought by the state. In December, the central government had sanctioned Rs3,049 crore. “This is the highest compensation among 11 states which declared drought last year,” said a Maharashtra government official who declined to be identified.
In 2015-16, the Maharashtra government had declared drought in 27,723 villages or 64% of the state’s total 43,000 villages. The drought was most severe in eight districts of Marathwada accounting for nearly 8,600 villages of 27,723. In 11 districts of Vidarbha, 11,962 villages were declared drought hit. The central team had made three visits to the state to assess the impact of drought and estimate the monetary compensation.