Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah seeks ₹18,177 Cr drought relief fund for farmers from the Centre

The state's request is to consider the area under SMF holdings, as per Aadhaar-enabled FRUITS digital database, and release relief funds.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Dec 19, 2023 | 6:55 PMUpdatedDec 19, 2023 | 6:55 PM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah submitted a letter to PM Modi to seek drought relief funds for the state. (X)

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Tuesday, 19 December, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and requested him to release drought relief funds amounting to ₹18,000 crore to the state at the earliest.

Siddaramaiah was accompanied by State Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda.

Siddaramaiah meets PM Modi

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Siddaramaiah stated that Karnataka has assessed the crop damage and is seeking an input subsidy of ₹4,663.12 crore from the National Disaster Response Funds (NDRF).

Around 48.19 lakh hectares of agriculture and horticulture crops have suffered losses ranging from 33 percent to 100 percent, with a majority of the areas reporting a loss of more than 80 percent.

Small and marginal farmers are the most affected, as about 83 percent of the land area under cultivation is covered under Small and Medium Farmholdings (SMF); hence, this land area is important to determine the input subsidy payable to the state, the Chief Minister’s letter stated.

Also Read: Karnataka announces interim relief for drought-hit farmers

‘83% of land holdings belong to small, marginal farmers’

CM Siddaramaiah & his cabinet colleague Krishna Byregowda meets PM Modi to seek drought relief funds for the State

CM Siddaramaiah and his Cabinet colleague Krishna Byre Gowda meet PM Modi to seek drought relief funds. (X)

Karnataka has a robust digital database of farmers under the system called FRUITS (Farmers Registration & Unified Beneficiary Identification System). This system is Aadhaar-enabled and is, therefore, reliable.

PM-Kisan uses the FRUITS identification number to make the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) payment in Karnataka.

Karnataka’s request is to consider the area under SMF holdings as per the Aadhaar-enabled FRUITS digital database and release the relief funds, Siddaramaiah’s letter stated.

The 2015-16 agriculture census shows that in Karnataka, 43.94 percent of the land area belongs to SMF holdings. However, as per the FRUITS database, 83 percent of the land is covered by holdings that belong to small and marginal farmers.

Also Read: Karnataka set to seek additional relief funds from Union government

Three memoranda submitted

The Chief Minister urged Prime Minister Modi to direct a high-level committee under the Union Home Ministry to consider the quantum of the area under the SMF holdings as per the state’s FRUITS database.

The first memorandum seeking relief of ₹4,860.13 crore was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture on 22 September 2023. The Government of India thereafter deputed the Inter-ministerial Central Team (IMCT), which visited the state from 4 to 9 October 2023.

CM Siddaramaiah & his cabinet colleague Krishna Byregowda meets PM Modi to seek drought relief funds for the State

Siddaramaiah, Krishna Byre Gowda meets, and Narendra Modi. (X)

Out of the 236 taluks in the state, 223 have been declared as drought-affected, as per the procedure laid down in the Drought Manual of 2020.

Out of them, 196 are severely affected. Subsequently, 21 more taluks were declared as severely affected by drought.

The supplementary memorandum was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture on 20 October 2023, seeking ₹17,901.73 crore from the NDRF, which included a gratuitous relief claim of ₹12,577.86 crore.

Following the declaration of drought on 4 November 2023, in an additional seven taluks, another supplementary memorandum was submitted on 15 November, seeking a total claim of ₹18,177.44 crore of relief funds for the state, Siddaramiah’s letter stated.