MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has made around 29.50 lakh farmers in the state debt-free by depositing Rs 18,980 crore into their bank accounts, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday.
Thackeray was speaking after hoisting the national flag at Mantralaya (state secretariat) in south Mumbai on the occasion of 74th Independence Day.
He also said that the government will focus on farmers and working-class as it tries to transform Maharashtra into a welfare state.
Stating that the government has started the process of unlocking the state "cautiously in a staggered manner", Thackeray also noted that Maharashtra has increased COVID-19 tests on a "big scale".
"Around 29.50 lakh farmers have been made debt-free by depositing Rs 18,980 crore into their bank accounts under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karjmukti Yojana," he said in his speech.
He said the government also procured 418.8 quintal cotton, highest in the last 10 years.
The chief minister observed that schools could not be reopened in the state due to the COVID-19 threat, but the government took steps to see education is being imparted to students through Google Classroom initiative.
"Maharashtra has become the first state to take such a step in the country," he added.
Thackeray said that around 66,300 industrial units have resumed operations after the government set in motion the process of unlocking. He said more than 16 lakh workers have returned to their workplaces.
"The government has signed MoUs worth around Rs 16,000 crore with investors from 12 countries and more agreements worth Rs 8,000 crore will be inked," Thackeray said.
"The government also launched 'MahaJobs' portal to ensure that locals, Marathi people get employment," he added.
Thackeray said the government will lay stress on providing proper healthcare facilities in both the urban and remote areas in the state.
The chief minister hailed COVID-19 warriors, such as doctors, nurses, policemen and others for and also extolled cops who have been announced the President's Medal and bravery awards.
He thanked the people of the state for observing restraint during festivals of all religions which fell during the lockdown period, imposed since March this year to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Thackeray said the work on Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, that will connect Mumbai to Nagpur in Vidarbha, has been fast-tracked and added that townships will be set up at 24 places along the expressway.