4 states declare drought in more than 390 taluks

Four states -- Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan -- have declared drought in over 390 taluks so far.

New Delhi: Four states -- Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan -- have declared drought in over 390 taluks so far and central teams will visit these states to assess the situation, Parliament was informed today.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said four states have declared drought so far. "The central teams have been constituted to visit these states for assessing the situation."

Rainfall deficiency is 12 per cent so far. The ministry is closely monitoring monsoon situation along with India Meteorological Department and state governments, he said.

According to the data placed before Parliament, maximum number of taluks declared drought-hit were in Karnataka at 142, followed by Gujarat (132 taluks), Maharashtra (122 taluks) and Rajasthan (five districts).

Replying to another question on the impact of drought on foodgrains production, Pawar said, "It is too early to assess impact of deficiency in rainfall on production of crops during the current year."

However, the Centre has introduced diesel subsidy to offset the cost of diesel used for pumping for providing supplementary and protective irrigation to standing crops in drought-affected areas, he said.

He further said that the government has also enhanced ceiling on subsidies on seeds of cereals, pulses and oilseeds to partially recompense the farmers for additional expenditure incurred by them in resowing or purchasing drought tolerant variety of seeds.

Other measures taken include channelising funds available under various flagship schemes for drought relief activities, up-scaling central scheme on feed and fodder and waiver of import duty on oil, he added.

In a memoranda submitted to the Centre, Karnataka has sought an assistance of Rs 11,488.96 crore, Rajasthan Rs 7,424.13 crore, Gujarat Rs 18,673.37 crore and Maharasthra has demanded Rs 3,011.61 crore to mitigate drought effect, the ministry said.