Monsoon: Centre ready with contingency plan

The Centre is fully geared up to meet any eventuality arising from deficient southwest monsoon, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Responding to a discussion on “deficient rain, drought conditions and plight of farmers,” the Minister said the government could not declare a drought. It was guided by the India Meteorological Department on weather forecasts. “Based on certain parameters, States assess the situation on the ground and inform us about the dry districts,” he said.

“The government is ready with a contingency plan for 500 districts. It has held meetings with 12 States and advised them to arrange short-duration seeds, fertilizers, water and power to tide over the situation. Already some financial assistance has been provided to the States concerned under the National Drinking Water Mission and Disaster Relief Programme,” he said. Though the monsoon was delayed and lagging in comparison to last year, kharif sowing could be taken up in July, he added.

To meet additional requirement for power, the Agriculture Ministry requested the Power Ministry to arrange for 400 MW in the northern region, 1,000 MW for States which were dry and 3,000 MW for the southern region.

Responding to Congress members’ concern about doing away with schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Mr. Singh said the Rural Development Ministry had written to State governments to utilise the programme in drought-like situation. He, however, mentioned that utilisation under the MGNREGA was below par in some States.

Earlier, NCP leader Sharad Pawar sought adequate financial assistance, including rescheduling of loans for farmers, to tide over the situation. JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi demanded loan waiver for farmers and BJD’s Bhupinder Singh favoured a separate budget for farmers.

CPI member D. Raja warned the government against using drought-like situation to justify price rise of essentials.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 12:28:56 AM |

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