Bundi: The Centre will work with the state governments to raise the compensation limit for farmers affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorms, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.
"The Prime Minister is deeply concerned about the loss to the farmers.... The government would raise the compensation limit to help the farmers whose crops have been affected by rain and hailstorm," Jaitley said while interacting with farmers in Timeli, one of the worst affected villages, about 65 km from district headquarters.
He noted that Rajasthan was one of the worst affected by the recent unseasonal rains and that there was major damage to crops in Bundi district. He assured the farmers of all possible help from the Centre.
"We take the responsibility to help you stand up again after this huge loss of crops and livestock," the Finance minister assured the farmers.
Jaitley said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed central ministers to visit the most affected areas so that assistance and compensation can be facilitated to the farmers.
The Centre in coordination with the state government would provide all possible help to the farmers, said Jaitley, who took an aerial survey to assess the damage to crops and was briefed by district collector Anandi.
Jaitley was accompanied by Union minister for small scale industries Giriraj Singh, state agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini, state transport minister and local MLA Babulal Verma.
The Finance Minister visited Mukut Meena, a farmer whose house was damaged in the heavy rains.Jaitley asked him how much it will cost to repair the house.
"The loss and damage is really great," the minister observed. Some of the women spoke to Jaitley about their grievances and he assured them of all help from the Centre as well as the state government.
Jaitley also met a five-year-old boy, who suffered a hand fracture during a hailstorm, and discussed with the district collector about provisions to assist the child.
The villagers spoke to the Minister about need for road connectivity as well as actual loss based compensation.
Bundi district congress president C L Premi submitted a memorandum to the finance minister and demanded a compensation of Rs 12000 per bigha and Rs 70,000 per hectare to the affected farmers.
The Centre had last week asked state governments to render immediate assistance to farmers from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), which has funds to the tune of Rs 5,270 crore for utilisation in this fiscal.
As per SDRF norms, the state governments can give input subsidy to farmers at the rate of Rs 4,500 per hectare for rainfed areas, Rs 9,000 per hectare for irrigated areas and Rs 12,000 per hectare for perennial crops.
The state governments have also been asked to submit a memorandum to the Centre in case the expenditure is more than the available fund in SDRF.
As per preliminary report, damage to rabi (winter) crops due to untimely rains is estimated at 181 lakh hectares across 13 states. The total cultivable area in rabi season is 600 lakh hectares.