New Delhi: In a bid to deal with apprehended drought, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) for effective management of such a situation.
The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, comprises Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Railway Minister Mukul Roy, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Food Minister K V Thomas.
The EGoM is authorized to review the situation and take "quick and timely decisions" on policy issues as well as other issues for effective management of drought and related issues.
In India, National Commission on Agriculture (1976) has categorized drought into three types--meteorological, hydrological and agricultural--based on the concept of its utilization.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines agricultural drought as a combination of temperature and precipitation over a period of several months leading to substantial reduction (less than 90 per cent) in yield.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) classified drought as an occasion when the rainfall for a week is half of the normal or less and when the normal weekly rainfall is above 5 mm or more.
If such 4 consecutive weeks occur from middle of May to October, it is considered as agricultural drought. From agriculture perspective, drought is a condition, in which, the amount of water needed for transpiration and direct evaporation exceeds the amount available in the soil.