Contingency plan for 320 drought affected districts ready: Govt



New Delhi: The government on Monday said it has prepared contingency plans for 320 districts where monsoon rains have been poor, amidst fears of a 20 per cent shortfall in rains in August-September.

"We have already drawn contingency plans for 320 districts. Wherever the shortfall in rains has been reported, we have drawn a contingency plan for that district," Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat told reporters here.

The contingency plan has been prepared by Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, he said.

"They (weather officials) are saying that overall deficient rains could be around 20 per cent overall in August and September. In August 80-85 per cent rainfall is expected," Rawat said in reply to a question on prospects of rain.

Rawat said about 24 meteorological sub-divisions are affected and rainfall deficiency is in the range of 20-60 per cent in these segments.

"But, the present situation is not as grave as was in 2009 (when the country witnessed large-scale drought situation)", he said.

Among various measures being taken to tackle the drought like situation, the Centre is providing knowledge input twice a week from ICAR besides seeds for alternate crop.

The government is also trying to provide states with additional electricity to draw water from tubewells, Rawat said adding they have been authorised to use central assistance as per requirements.

Rawat said that Centre has sanctioned 300 Mega Watt (MW) of power to Punjab and Haryana and about 275 MW for Uttar Pradesh for the purpose.

According to India Meteorological Department data, rains in the country are deficient by 21 per cent as of July 28.

Sowing area of total kharif crops has declined by 10 per cent so far at 66.82 million hectare. Coarse cereals is worst affected with 23 per cent shortfall, followed by pulses (18 per cent), paddy (9 per cent) and cotton (7 per cent).

Rawat was speaking on the sidelines of a conference on sustainable green revolution organised by industry body PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

PTI