Met dept rules out drought on narrowing rain deficit

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 6 2014, 13:13pm hrs
MonsoonThe IMD has predicted that the rainfall during the season (June-September) will be at a 13% deficit to the LPA.
Better monsoon rains, mainly over the central, southern and northern parts of the country, in the last fortnight have not only helped sowing but also bridged the rainfall deficit to a large extent, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the overall deficiency in monsoon rains has reduced to 14% of the long period average (LPA), virtually ruling out chances of a drought. The IMD has predicted that the rainfall during the season (June-September) will be at a 13% deficit to the LPA. With sowing for most kharif crops such as pulses, oilseeds and cotton complete, the total area under summer crops has declined marginally compared with last year.

Click here for graph

Data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday showed the total area under kharif crops is 98.6 million hectares against 102 million hectares reported in the same period last year, a decline of 3.4%.

Apart from cotton, the area sown for all other kharif crops is lower this time around. At 36 million hectares, the area under paddy is only marginally lower but India may need to import more pulses this year given the sowing area has been lower. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Friday the exact area sown would be known by September 15.

The sowing of kharif crops begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June, while harvesting commences from October. The rainfall deficit may further decline with the met department predicting more rainfall in the next few days; the monsoon this year picked up pace in the July and August after a sluggish beginning.