The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today chaired a high level meeting on the drought and water scarcity situation in parts of Maharashtra. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, was present in the meeting. Senior officials from the Government of India, and the State of Maharahtra, were also present.
Initiating the discussion, the Prime Minister stated that the Centre, States, Local Bodies, NGOs and citizens have to work together to resolve the problems posed by drought. He also called for focus on medium and long term solutions for drought-proofing.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of increasing water use efficiency through drip and sprinkler, stating that drip irrigation in sugarcane increases the quality of sugar. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra said that the State Government is working on a plan to ensure that 100 per cent of the sugarcane growing area in Maharashtra comes under drip irrigation in three years.
The Prime Minister also stressed the need to adopt a judicious mix of traditional and modern water conservation and storage mechanisms. He said that a lot can be learnt from the water management practices and measures adopted by Chhatrapati Shivaji. The Chief Minister stated that the State is working to rejuvenate the water-bodies of that era.
The Chief Minister informed that good progress has been made in preparatory works for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
The Prime Minister also called for modern solid and liquid waste management practices in urban areas, which could yield enhanced water and organic fertilizer availability in adjoining rural areas.
The Chief Minister informed the Prime Minister that the State is focusing on Climate Resilient Agriculture; and has proposed a Climate Resistant Agriculture Modernization Project for a World Bank loan, to ensure water security at the farm level. He thanked the Government of India for expeditiously recommending this project to the World Bank.
The Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister about the progress of the Jal Yukt Shivar Abhiyan for water conservation and storage. He said the State has set a target of 51,500 farm ponds for Financial Year 2016-17, which may be scaled up further, in view of the enthusiastic response of farmers.
The Chief Minister also explained the State’s efforts to complete critical irrigation projects in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in a time-bound manner. He also spoke of the work done to bring more farmers under the umbrella of institutional credit.
The Chief Minister also informed about the efforts towards “doubling farm incomes and drought-free Maharashtra.”
Appreciating the efforts of the State Government, the Prime Minister emphasized crop diversification, value-addition, and broadbasing the sources of income for farmers, by connecting dairying, fishery, poultry, bee-keeping etc. He also underlined the natural hedging from vagaries of nature because of broadbasing of income.