New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is scheduled to meet on August 8 to decide on further relief measures to mitigate the adverse impact of deficient monsoon rains.
The meeting has been called after Pawar, along with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, visited four states - Karnataka, Maharasthra, Gujarat and Rajasthan - that have been severely facing drought-like situation, affecting kharif crops, fodder and drinking water supply.
"The EGoM meeting on drought is scheduled for August 8," a source said.
Pawar is currently touring interior parts of Maharashtra, especially Sholapur, Satara and Pune, to assess the impact of deficit rainfall. He is also planning to visit Punjab and Haryana after the EGoM meeting, the sources said.
This would be the second meeting of the EGoM. In the first meeting held on July 31, the panel had announced a slew of measures, including a relief package of about Rs 2,000 crore to states facing drought-like situation and 50 percent diesel subsidy to farmers to save standing kharif crops.
It had also decided to increase subsidy on seeds of various kharif crops and removed import duty on oilcakes to boost fodder supply for livestock.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has indicated that there could be possibility of drought-like situation this year as monsoon rains are expected to be less than 90 percent. Rains have been deficient by 20 percent so far. In recent times, the country faced drought in 2009 and 2002.
The total area sown under kharif crop was down by 10 percent at 74.88 million hectare as of August 3, as against 82.76 million hectare in the year-ago period. The sowing of coarse cereals and pulses has been the worst hit as area under these crops is down 17 percent, signalling a dip in output.