"Government is working towards the goal of making Maharashtra open defecation free and ensuring 100 per cent segregation, collection and processing of municipal solid waste as an extension of 'Swachh Maharashtra Abhiyan'. I am happy to state that 50 towns will become 'swachh' by the end of this year," Rao said in his address after unfurling the national flag on Republic Day at Shivjai Park here.

The Governor said as a tribute to former President late APJ Abdul Kalam, the government has launched 'APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojana' to provide free nutritious meal to pregnant women and lactating mothers in tribal areas of the state.

As the nation celebrates 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar this year, the state government has earmarked Rs 125 crore for the purpose, Rao said, adding that it is a matter of pride for Maharashtra that two of the five places chosen by the Centre to develop 'Panchteerths', on the life and work of Ambedkar, are located in the state.

On the drought situation, Rao said many parts of the state are facing drought this year, affecting 15,747 villages in the current kharif season.

"Government has announced a special package of Rs 10,512 crore during the winter session of state Legislature for farmers' relief. Of this, Rs 2000 crore has been disbursed to the affected farmers," he said.

Rao said the government has launched the late Gopinath Munde Farmers' Accident Insurance Scheme to render social and economic security to farmers and their families.

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