Rainfall deficiency in half of India worrisome: Skymet’s GP Sharma

  • Below normal rains have hit Kharif sowing, with total acreage nearly 1% lower year-on-year at 20.3 million hectare. As of 30 June, crop sowing was 10% lower in Maharashtra, 12% lower in Karnataka, and around 3% lower in Telangana

Puja Das
Updated5 Jul 2023, 05:14 PM IST
Rainfall in the June-September monsoon season drives India's $3 trillion economy, bringing nearly 75% of the country's annual rains which are crucial for agriculture.
Rainfall in the June-September monsoon season drives India’s $3 trillion economy, bringing nearly 75% of the country’s annual rains which are crucial for agriculture.

New Delhi: The crucial southwest monsoon had covered the entire country as of 2 July, six days ahead of schedule, but deficient rainfall in major food grain producing regions is a cause of concern.

“Though the monsoon has covered the entire country and reduced the rainfall deficiency in eastern, central and southern parts of the country to some extent, the situation remains worrisome,” said GP Sharma, president, Skymet. 

“…Rainfall is deficient in key kharif growing states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka is creating concerns,” Sharma added. “In Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions and the entire south India are facing large deficiency in rainfall.”

As many as 14 states have recorded deficient rains so far this monsoon season that started June, as per data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). These states, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, are key producers of Kharif crops.

In the season so far, rainfall deficiency in Andhra Pradesh stands at 26%, while Telangana and Karnataka have received 53% and 44% below normal rains, respectively. In Maharashtra, showers have been 38% below normal, in Jharkhand 39% lower than normal; Chhattisgarh has reported a 23% deficiency, Bihar 26%, and in Odisha rains have been 31% deficient.

Against this backdrop, the central government on Tuesday conducted a high-level meeting to evaluate drought preparedness and review the progress of Kharif sowing activities in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The meeting aimed to assess the impact of the rainfall deficit and devise contingency plans to tackle potential challenges. Officials from various departments, along with concerned scheme nodal officers from the states, were discussed the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Central Sector Schemes for the agriculture sector.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand Bihar and Odisha are major growers of Kharif rice, and Maharashtra and Karnataka are among the largest producers of sugarcane, cotton, oilseeds and pulses and maize, cotton, pulses and oilseeds.

In June, the country had received 148.6 mm of monsoon rainfall, 10% less than the long period average (LPA) of 165.3 mm. Rainfall in south peninsular India at 88.6 mm was lowest since 1901. Central, and east & northeast India had received 6% and 18% less-than-normal rains last month.

Below normal rains have hit Kharif sowing, with total acreage nearly 1% lower year-on-year at 20.3 million hectare. As of 30 June, crop sowing was 10% lower in Maharashtra, 12% lower in Karnataka, and around 3% lower in Telangana, as per data from agriculture ministry.

After making a delayed onset over Kerala and subdued progress thereafter, the monsoon current rapidly advanced in the past two weeks, bringing down the all-India rainfall deficiency to 8% of long period average on Monday from 47% about a fortnight ago, and the deficiency widened by 1% on Tuesday taking it back to 9%.

IMD has forecast that rains in July could be around 100% of LPA.

June accounts for 16-17% of monsoon rainfall, and farmers sow kharif crops after the first spell of rains, while July accounts for 40% rainfall in the four-month season.

“It is early to say that these states are witnessing drought-like situation,” said Sharma. “There are two categories when we explain drought - agriculture and hydrological. Hydrological drought is for meteorologists. When the entire country’s rainfall deficiency remains more than 10% of LPA in the June-September monsoon season, we can call it a drought-like situation,” the meteorologist explained.

Rainfall in the June-September season drives India's $3 trillion economy, bringing nearly 75% of the country's annual rains which are crucial for agriculture and for replenishing reservoirs and aquifers along with meeting power demand. Over half of India's arable land is rain-fed and agriculture is among the biggest employment generators.

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First Published:5 Jul 2023, 05:14 PM IST
HomeEconomyRainfall deficiency in half of India worrisome: Skymet’s GP Sharma

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