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Parts of western India may witness drought due to poor rains: Agriculture Minister

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 18:37

Zee Media Bureau/Biplob Ghosal

New Delhi: It seems tough times are ahead for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government as monsoon rainfall was 43 percent below average in the month of June.

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday warned of drought like situation in some parts of western India due to below-normal rains.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, already reeling under the pressure of increasing food prices have big reason to worry due to scanty rains.

The newly-elected government is already facing criticism for raising Railway fares, inflation and rising fuel prices. Interestingly, PM Modi during his election campaign had repeatedly attacked the Congress for rising prices and had promised to contain inflation if voted to power.

Though, it is being predicted that the monsoon is likely to recover in the first week of July, however, if at all it doesn`t pick up it would lead to low agriculture produce, ultimately leading to sky rocketing prices of food items.

Majority of the farmers in the country depend on rains to irrigate their fields, however with monsoon situation looking grim, the agriculture industry, which is considered to be the backbone of India`s economy is expected to suffer the most.

Delay in annual monsoon rains has not only affected agriculture produce, but has also robbed cattle fodder of nutritious moisture.
Last month, PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting to chalk out a contingency plan for 500 districts to meet the situation arising out of a possible poor monsoon.

The Prime Minister was briefed by secretaries of the various departments on plans for these sectors. He stressed particularly on the need to reduce farmer distress and to boost the rural economy.

Modi was updated about the government`s preparedness to minimise the impact of a poor monsoon and informed that it is mulling relief measures such as providing subsidy to buy seeds for re-sowing and to purchase diesel for irrigation to protect crops, sources added.

Rains were 34 percent above average a year earlier, as the monsoon arrived on the normal date of June 1 and covered half the country by mid-June, two days ahead of schedule.
This year, the monsoon covered half of the country four days behind schedule following a late onset over the southern Kerala coast, a Reuters report said.

The progress of the monsoon towards the grain bowl belt of northwest India is late by up to ten days.

First Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 18:33
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