State govt declares 206 blocks in 23 districts drought-hit

Bihar government declared 206 blocks in 23 districts as drought-hit. The drought hit districts are Patna, Bhojpur, Buxar, Gaya, Nawada, Aurangabad, Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, Sheikhpura, Jamui, Banka, Bhagalpur, Nalanda, Saharsa, Munger, Jehanabad and Kaimur. The last three districts have only one drought-hit block each. The 206 blocks were declared drought-hit if they satisfied even one of the three criteria prescribed by the agriculture department — condition of agriculture farm, drying up of standing crops and 33% less than the expected yield. The affected farmers will be provided immediate relief by agriculture department in the form of subsidy on diesel and seeds, and formation of alternate cropping scheme and its effective implementation. It was also decided that necessary steps would be taken to provide the benefits of crop insurance and assistance schemes to farmers and they would also be provided agriculture input subsidy. Bihar witnessed a meteorological drought this year with 25% rainfall deficiency in the four-month-long monsoon season. Instructions were also given to food and consumer protection department to ensure sufficient quantity of food stored and supplied to the beneficiaries in the affected areas.