Govt says taking steps to tackle below-normal monsoon

Thursday, May 21, 2015,22:11 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Fearing a hit on farm output from below-normal monsoon, the Centre today said it is taking all measures to tackle any situation arising out of possibility of poor rains and has also asked states to be prepared in this regard.
Although monsoon is likely to hit the Kerala coast on May 30, two days before its scheduled arrival, the weather office has forecast below normal rains for a second consecutive year. Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on the monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
The anticipation is that the monsoon will be not as good as last year. This will actually (have) an impact on the crop that will be available next year and from my point of view as the Secretary Consumer Affairs, my interest is in what is available for the consumers, Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju said here. All steps are being taken.
The state governments are fully alert to this. Meteorological department has put out a very careful estimate about what the rainfall likelihood will be, he told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by industry body CII. The country had received 12 per cent deficient rain in 2014, resulting in over 5 per cent fall in foodgrains output.
Production of foodgrains estimated to have declined by 5.25 per cent to 251.12 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year due to poor monsoon and unseasonal rains in last two months. Output of oilseeds and cotton also fell. Untimely rains during March-April this year have already put farmers in distress and there have been quite a few cases of farmer suicides.
With forecast of below normal monsoon, the Centre has put in place a contingency plan for 580 districts and push crop insurance for farmers. States have been asked to come up with strategies based on the monsoon forecast. They have also been directed to keep adequate quantity of seeds ready beforehand besides other inputs such as fertilisers, micro nutrients and pesticides.