The Maharashtra government has credited Rs 4,461 crore in the bank accounts of nearly 67 lakh farmers as drought relief, the state’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Tuesday. He made the announcement while presenting the additional budget for 2019-’20 in the Legislative Assembly, PTI reported.

Large parts of the state are reeling under severe drought. The government announced the relief measure for 66,88,422 farmers in 17,985 villages spread across 26 districts.

Mungantiwar also enumerated the steps undertaken by the government for drought mitigation. He said a control room had been set up in each collectorate to tackle scarcity of drinking water. As of June 10, as many as 6,597 tankers were supplying drinking water to 5,243 villages, while 9,925 wells and borewells have been acquired, he said. In addition, 1,635 fodder camps have been started to reach 11 lakh animals.

The government also allocated Rs 6,410 crore to deal with the outcome of natural disasters and said more funds would be announced if necessary.

The state is scheduled to have Assembly elections later this year.

Other highlights of the Budget:

  • The government allocated Rs 5 crore for the digitisation of Mumbai’s Asiatic Library, and said it would start the process to convert eight public libraries into e-libraries.
  • Rs 10 crore were allocated for the current fiscal year for a scheme that aims to train 50,000 teachers in the next five years.
  • The government allocated Rs 160 crore for this year to allow the state road transport corporation to buy 700 new buses.
  • The government will spend Rs 150 crore for the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Under the Chief Minister Employment Generation programme, 10,000 small scale industries will be started this year, with preference given to women and persons from the scheduled castes and tribes.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde claimed that details of the Budget were leaked on Mungantiwar’s Twitter handle before it was presented, PTI reported. Some Opposition leaders disrupted the Budget speech by Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar in the Legislative Council.