Centre to grant Rs 13,650-crore ‘special package’ for Maharashtra: Nitin Gadkari behind move?

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New Delhi | Published: May 1, 2018 4:53:12 PM

Amidst the ongoing political tussle in Maharashtra between alliance partners-turned-foes Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party, the Centre has decided to give a Rs 13,650 crore gift to the state over a period of next 5 years.

Nitin Gadkari, special package for Maharashtra, agrarian distress, Vidarbha, Marathwada, Shiv Sena, agrarian distress in Maharashtra, BJPUnion Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari. (PTI)

Amidst the ongoing political tussle in Maharashtra between alliance partners-turned-foes Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party, the Centre has decided to give a Rs 13,650 crore gift to the state over a period of next 5 years. This ‘special package’ has been approved by the Narendra Modi-led central government in order to ‘address agrarian distress in 14 suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

According to an Indian Express report, this move to address the agrarian distress in the state has been proposed by Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari, who himself hails from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. A meeting was conducted at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on April 9 for this proposal. The inter-ministerial Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) met last week in a follow-up to the meeting.

The report further states that the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) has made a careful and critical examination of the proposal in order to get a Cabinet approval. The special package under the projects approved in the proposal states that it “does not fit into the guidelines for inclusion/funding under the existing schemes [Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP)/Har Khet Ko Pani] of this Ministry (Water Resources). Therefore, Central Assistance in the form of special package is proposed.”

The ‘special package’ proposal includes a total of 83 minor irrigation projects of which 66 are in Vidarbha, 17 are in the Marathwada region and 8 major/medium irrigation projects. The proposal states, “The balance estimated cost of projects of Maharashtra to be completed under this package is Rs 13,651.61 crore as on 01/04/2018, with Rs 3,412.90 crore being the Central Assistance (CA) by Government of India.” It adds that the “funding may be done by Government of India through Budgetary Resources. State share may be provided by the State from their budgetary resources or may be raised by them through NABARD on mutually agreed terms within their FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) limits.”

The meeting that took place on April 9 noted that the CA will also be reimbursed for expenditure that incurred during 2017-18 which would amount to Rs 418.51 crore. It further claimed that these projects will provide additional irrigation potential of 3.77 lakh hectare.

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