The weather office, which had forecast normal rains this year, said last week total rainfall since June was 2% below normal, although it had been uneven, being 26% above normal in the first three weeks of the monsoon, and deficient in the July 17-23 period. The June-September rains are vital for farm output and the overall economy, as they help to determine rural spending. Only 40% of India's cultivated land is irrigated. The rest is rain-fed.
Pawar also said that though rice planting has been higher on year till date, the government does not have any immediate plans to revoke the ban on non-basmati rice exports. Indian farmers planted rice on 17.01 million hectare between June 1 and July 25, up 19% from 14.31 million a year ago.
Separately, the minister said the government has no immediate plans to restrict cotton exports. Textile mills have been requesting the government to curb cotton exports.
On Tuesday, textile commissioner JN Singh had ruled out imposing any ban or quantitative restrictions on cotton exports to bring down the prices in the domestic market.