Bhubaneswar:The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, Thursday announced a special package for the drought hit  farmers of the State.

The state has declared nine districts  – Baragarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh- as drought affected. The famrers of  5,633 villages of 66 blocks and 16 urban local bodies (ULBs)  in these districts have suffered crop loss of 33% and above due to moisture stress.

While the short-term Kharif loan has been converted into medium term loan, the state government has urged the Centre to extend interest incentive of 3% for the medium term (conversion) loans . The government has also decided 100 per cent remission in respect of cess on land revenue and compulsory basic water rate will be given to farmers where the crop loss is 33% or more.

The school fees and school examination fees up to high school level in government schools in drought affected areas shall be waived.

The chief minister has announced that the agriculture input subsidy of Rs 6,800 per hectare of land in rain-fed/non irrigated areas, Rs 13,500 per hectare of land in areas under assured irrigation and Rs 18,000 per hectare for all types of perennial crops will be provided to small and marginal farmers who have suffered crop loss of 33%  and above. Agriculture input subsidy will also be given to farmers other than small and marginal farmers at the same rate subject to a ceiling of two hectare per farmer. The assistance would be provided to actual cultivators. The agricultural input subsidy to any affected farmer will not be less than Rs 2000 for perennial crops and Rs 1000 for other crops.

This apart, it has been decided to distribute 1 lakh pulses, 30,000 oilseed  and 20,000 vegetable seed kits to the drought affected farmers during Rabi 2018-19.

An additional man-days will be provided to the people in the drought affected areas under MGNREGA . Works like establishment of water harvesting structures/ desilting of field channels, diversion weirs would be taken up under the MGNREGA programmes.