'Back up' plan to deal with truant monsoon: FinMin



`Back up` plan to deal with truant monsoon: FinMin New Delhi: The government on Monday said it will prepare a "back up" plan to neutralise the impact of truant monsoon on agriculture and the country's economic growth.

Saying that delayed monsoon is a concern, Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla told reporters, "The back up plan will be required... as of today the magnitude of what is required and what is likely to be required is not very high... not entirely known."

"This is something which will evolve as the situation becomes more and more clear," Chawla said when asked whether the government is working out a contingency plan to counter the situation.

He said, the Centre and state governments are trying to ensure adequate supply of power and diesel for farmers to help them exploit ground water resources to the maximum.

In order to ensure adequate production of crops like paddy, pulses and oilseeds which need lot of water, Chawla said, "The states and central governments are taking steps to ensure that there is adequate power supply and the diesel is available so that the farmers can exploit maximum ground water."

As regards assessment of the monsoon situation, the Finance Secretary said, "It continues to be a problem in some parts of central India and parts of north west India."

Pointing out that the monsoon situation has improved substantially in various parts of the country since June 25, Chawla said, it is more of a local problem.

However, delayed monsoon in certain areas of central and north-west India will impact output of paddy and pulses like urad, moong and oilseeds, he said, adding the farmers are opting for crops that do not require much water.

"Farmer himself has lot of fall back options... He will not let the land remain idle. He will put it to some use," he added.

On the likely impact of poor monsoon on farm output, Chawla said, "There will be perhaps some marginal decline in the kharif production, which at this point in time is not possible to be estimated by the agriculture ministry."

"They (agriculture ministry) haven't done it yet. We will have to see what is decline, and what impact it has on total production on cereals and based on that what will be the impact on the GDP growth", he added.

Any possible decline in output, Chawla asserted, will not have any implications on the food security. "There will no issues as far as food security is concerned. There will be some impact on agriculture and some impact on GDP growth...How much. It is difficult to say," he said.

Bureau Report