Amid the deluge in Mumbai and water scarcity in Chennai and large tracts of central India facing drought conditions, and a 33 per cent rain deficit affecting sowing of kharif crops, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, sounded optimistic and said there was 'no cause of concern' about the monsoon following the latest IMD estimate.
The Government is keeping a close watch and the Agriculture Secretary, Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, said the sowing of kharif crops will pick up as the IMD estimates good rains in the coming months.
The Government will also soon take a decision on minimum support price (MSP) for the notified kharif crops for the new crop year, that will also boost the sowing activity.
'It (drought) is not new for India and right now, the current estimate does not indicate reasons for any concern. The ministry is keeping a close watch,' Mr. Tomar said, when asked about deficit rain and the drought-like conditions.
According to the IMD, there was 33 per cent deficit in southwest monsoon during June and over 78 per cent of meteorological subdivision recorded 'deficient' rain.
As a result, farmers were able to sow kharif crops only in 146.61 lakh hectares till last week, as against last year’s 162.07 lakh hectre, according to the Agriculture Ministry data.
Stating that there was no cause of worry as of now, the Secretary said IMD estimates good rain in July and August.
'Yes, there was some lag in sowing of kharif during June, however, it will pick up and we are confident that sowing target will be achieved,' he said.