Press Information Bureau
Government of India
16-September-2015 14:23 IST
Ex-post facto approval to additional employment of 50 days over and above 100 days per household under Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) in areas hit by drought or natural calamities


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders, in such rural areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified. This will enable States to provide additional wage employment to the rural poor in drought affected areas. The poorest rural households will benefit from this, as it will help in immediate absorption of rural seasonal unemployment, and reduce rural distress.


To provide immediate relief to farmers, in view of the deficit monsoon during Kharif 2015, the Government of India has already taken a number of decisions. Orders on these measures have already been issued to all State Governments, which will implement them on the basis of assessed need.  The various decisions are:


1.                  Diesel Subsidy Scheme for farmers in affected areas: It has been decided to provide diesel subsidy to farmers to enable them to provide life saving irrigation through diesel pump sets in drought and deficit rainfall areas to protect standing crops (allocation of Rs.100 crore). Farmers in the affected regions will be covered during the current South-West monsoon period till 30th September, 2015.  The scheme on Diesel Subsidy will be implemented with the participation of the State Governments/UT Administration, with a view to offset the cost of diesel used for pumping water for providing supplementary irrigation/protective irrigation. The scheme will be applicable to such districts/talukas/areas where the rainfall deficit is more than 50 percent as on 15th July, 2015, (as reported by the India Meteorological Department); to such districts/talukas/areas, which have been declared as drought affected area by the respective State Govt./ UT Administration; areas with prolonged dry spell continuously for 15 days, i.e. scanty rainfall (deficit of 60 percent or more of normal) for any continuous 15 days period, after the onset date of Monsoon as per reports of IMD. It is proposed to provide 50 percent subsidy on the cost of diesel (Rs 2000 per hectare) to affected farmers, limited to a maximum of two hectares per farmer. The cost of assistance provided shall be shared between the Government of India and the State Government/UT Administration concerned on 50:50 basis.

2.                  Enhancement of ceiling on Seed subsidy: Enhancement of ceiling on Seed subsidy. In order to  compensate farmers in drought affected districts for the additional expenditure incurred in the sowing and /or purchasing appropriate varieties of drought resistant seeds, it has been decided to raise the extant ceiling on seed subsidy by 50 percent  over existing levels for distribution in drought notified districts. The enhancement is valid till 31.12.2015.

3.                  Interventions for saving perennial horticulture crops: Appropriate input support measures will be provided to rejuvenate water stressed horticulture crops, with an additional allocation of Rs.150 crore. The scheme is to be implemented in all drought affected districts / blocks in the country which are covered under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), being implemented by Dept. of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare. Farmers in drought affected districts/ blocks will be provided assistance at the rate of Rs.6000/- per hectare as per cost norms for a maximum area of two ha per beneficiary, for taking up appropriate combination of interventions. Assistance so provided through subsidy shall be shared between the Government of India and the State Government/UT Administration concerned on 50:50 basis. 

4.                  Implementation of additional fodder development programme: Assistance will be provided for additional interventions for production of fodder for mitigating adverse impact of drought on livestock (allocation of Rs.50 crore). Farmers in drought affected districts/ blocks will be provided assistance at the rate of Rs.3200/- per hectare as per cost norms for a maximum area of two ha per beneficiary for taking up additional production of fodder in these districts/blocks. Assistance so provided through subsidy shall be shared between the Government of India and the State Government/UT Administration concerned on 50:50 basis.

5.                  Flexible allocation under RKVY and other centrally sponsored schemes: States have   been advised to keep aside about 5 to 10 percent of fund allocated under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for undertaking appropriate interventions, if the situation so warrants, to minimize the advance impact of an aberrant monsoon on the agriculture sector. 10 percent of the allocation under Centrally Sponsored Scheme may be utilized in flexible manner by States to meet contingent requirement arising out of deficient rains.

6.                  Crop contingency plan: Ministry of Agriculture, through ICAR-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad has prepared detailed crop Contingency Plans for 600 districts. States have been advised to prepare/ update/ fine-tune Contingency Plans for each district in consultation with CRIDA-ICAR and State Agriculture Universities and to prepare location specific remedial measures based on these contingency plans in the event of late arrival of Monsoon/long dry spells/scanty rainfall/drought conditions e.g. tying up availability of seeds and other inputs for implementing Contingency Plans. As seen from the experience of last year, these are highly useful in case of a deviant monsoon.  These plans are available at the website of Dept. of Agriculture & Cooperation, Minstry of Agriculture as well as Central Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad.

7.                  Advisories to the states: State Governments have already been advised to initiate advance remedial action e.g. constructing water harvesting structures under MGNREGA  and other such schemes, promoting agronomic practices for moisture conservation, promoting cultivation  of less water consuming crops and restoring irrigation infrastructure by desilting canals, energizing tube-wells, replacing/repairing faulty pumps. States have also been requested to carry out periodic assessment of preparation for Kharif crops, particularly contingency crops and also investment made in water conservation structure under various schemes like Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWWP) to verify their utility in harvesting the rainfall.

8.                  Availability of seeds and other inputs for Kharif, 2015: Availability of seeds and other inputs is being monitored / reviewed on a continuous basis in the weekly Crop Weather Watch Group (CWWG) meetings being held in the Department of Agriculture. Weekly video conference with States is also being held to get first-hand information about State’s preparedness and to advise States appropriately whenever needed.

9.                  SMS Advisory: The Ministry, through the m-kisan portal sends SMS advisories to registered farmers. These advisories include weather based SMS advisories, advisories to suggest measures to minimize adverse impact of extreme weather event. Ministry through various operators has sent about 700 crores SMS in the last one year. These SMS are sent by ICAR/SAU, KVK, AMFU etc. and district level state Government officials.

10.              Crisis management plan for drought for the year 2015: A Crisis Management Plan (CMP) for Drought has been in place and is available at the website of Dept. of Agriculture & Cooperation, Min. of Agriculture. The plan has also been updated recently in consultation with Stakeholder Ministries/Departments. The Agriculture Minister has also requested all Chief Ministers, vide his letter dated 12.05.2015, to direct the officers concerned to expedite preparation of State level Management Plans on Drought.

11.              SDRF/NDRF funds - First Instalment of SDRF released: The State Government is primarily responsible for providing necessary relief in the wake of natural calamities. Government of India supplements the efforts of state Governments with financial assistance. For undertaking relief measures, funds are available with State Governments in the form of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Additional financial assistance, over and above SDRF, is considered from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for natural calamities of severe nature and is approved on the basis of Memorandum received from the State Government in accordance with established procedure, keeping in view items and norms in vogue for assistance. The first instalment of SDRF has already been released to State Governments. SDRF funds, besides others, can also be used for emergency supply of drinking water in rural and urban areas, as per the approved guidelines.