With the monsoon withdraw, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that rainfall deficit this year would be 12 per cent over the long period average (LPA).
This may be better than what was expected at the onset of the season, but the authorities has described it as the worst and a below-normal monsoon in the past five years.The picture was represented by the regional variation in the rainfall deficit contained in IMD’s weekly report.
Major agricultural states such as Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab and West Uttar Pradesh have received deficient rainfall by more than 50%. While central India, including Maharashtra, and the southern peninsula have least rainfall.
This might not present any immediate challenge if the government uses the large buffer stock of grains intelligently to prevent supply-demand mismatch. Managing food inflation should be its first priority. Food inflation is poised above nine per cent and though the overall inflation rate has fallen, the RBI has warned that food prices still pose a risk.
As many experts has predicted that erratic monsoons are here to stay, there is an urgent need for a re-look towards water management. The government has already started a project linking 14 rivers from the Himalayas and 16 across the Indian peninsula. It will enable bringing water from areas with plentiful supplies to others afflicted by scarcity. This should be coupled with innovative and imaginative use of technology and research for conservation of groundwater and better crop planning.