The Bihar Cabinet on Friday decided to provide Rs 3,000 as "immediate assistance" to all the families living in 896 panchayats of 18 districts affected by deficit rainfall or less crop sowing this year. Approving the Disaster Management Department's proposal, the Cabinet also sanctioned Rs 900 crore from the Bihar Contingency Fund (BCF) for this purpose, Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit told reporters here after the cabinet meeting.
The immediate assistance will be given to those 896 panchayats which have recorded more than 30 per cent deficit rainfall or have witnessed less than 70 per cent of kharif crop sowing, Amrit said. The amount will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of the affected families in the districts of Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Gaya, Nawada, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Arwal, Munger, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Sheikhpura, Bhagalpur, Banka, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga.
Families living in these 18 districts, which have already received Rs 6,000 as gratuitous relief during the floods in July will not get this assistance of Rs 3,000 as the idea is to reach out to every needy person, Amrit added. It has also been decided that like last year, farmers will be given "agriculture input subsidy" after declaring blocks as "drought-hit", Amrit said.
To decide on drought-hit blocks, agriculture department officials will visit fields and prepare a report on three counts - a) whether fields with crops have witnessed cracks, b) impact of wilting on crops and c) whether the productivity of crop witnessed a decline of 33 per cent or more. The government had given Rs 868 crore as assistance to more than 14 lakh drought-affected farmers in 280 blocks of 25 districts last year, the principal secretary said.
The cabinet also sanctioned Rs 72.97 crore for the maintenance and other expenses of buildings of panchayat sarkar and gram panchayat in 2019-20, Cabinet Secretariat Department's Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said. It also gave its nod for setting up of "Bihar State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change" under the state's Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department for five years from 2019-20 to 2023-24.
Kumar said the Centre has been sponsored by Science and Technology Ministry, Government of India..
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