The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced severe and medium-scale drought in 151 tehsils in 26 districts. The announcement will hold for the next six months.Out of the 151 tehsils, 39 come under the ‘medium-scale’ category while 112 are ‘severe drought’ areas.Under the Centre’s drought manual of 2016, the State had to follow three steps before declaring a drought.The government identified over 200 tehsils from 13 districts that received rainfall between 50% and 75% and prescribed the first trigger or step, to identify whether drought can be declared in these locations. By the end of the second step, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had declared 180 tehsils as drought-prone. A ground truthing [inspection] exercise was held thereafter and the report was submitted to the CM’s office. The Opposition Congress on Tuesday had charged the government for delaying the announcement.The State has been facing water scarcity in October, with the next monsoon still nine months away. Total water storage as on October 31 in all dams of the State stands at 59.46% in comparison to 76.14% last year. The number of tankers deployed across the State too has increased from 74 on October 30, 2017 to 489 on October 29, 2018.The government has already asked District Collectors to not collect land revenue from farmers, implement a 33% subsidy on the electricity bill of agriculture pumps, kick start employment guarantee scheme, and exempt school and college fees for students from these tehsils. Farmers will get financial help ande government is likely to credit ₹6,800 per hectare to farmers with non-irrigated farms and ₹13,000 per hectare to those with irrigated farms.