EGoM on drought to meet next week

The sowing of major kharif (summer) crops like rice, cotton, coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses has been hit.

New Delhi: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought will meet on Tuesday to review the monsoon situation, as 22 percent deficit rains so far have affected sowing of Kharif crops, particularly coarse cereals.

"I have planned EGoM on drought on coming Tuesday," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was recently made head of EGoM on drought, told reporters.

The EGoM is authorised to review the situation and take "quick and timely decisions" on policy and other matters for effective management of drought.

Pawar, who joined office today after issues related to a week-long stand-off between the Congress and his party NCP were sorted out, said the ministry is collecting details from States on the impact of poor rains.

Earlier in the day, Pawar held discussions with Food Minister KV Thomas and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General LS Rathore to review the monsoon situation.

The EGoM was earlier headed by Pranab Mukherjee, the then Finance Minister. Home Minister P Chidambaram, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal are members of the EGoM.

Other members include Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Railway Minister Mukul Roy, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Food Minister KV Thomas and Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena.

"We discussed the monsoon situation and also about futures trading in agri commodities," Food minister KV Thomas said after meeting Pawar.

Meanwhile, IMD said it expects monsoon deficiency to narrow down in the coming days with improvement in rains.

Monsoon rains have been deficient by 22 percent so far this year across the country and the situation is worrisome in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The sowing of major kharif (summer) crops like rice, cotton, coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses has been hit.