The monsoon is expected to improve after July 7 but the government is fully prepared to tackle the situation in case of poor rainfall, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting to review the monsoon situation and implementation of the Food Security Act. The meeting, which lasted for more than 2 hours, was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and the Agriculture Minister.
“Discussions were held on food security Act and drought situation,” Agriculture Minister told reporters here after the meeting. The Agriculture Ministry and the Met department briefed the Prime Minister about the progress of monsoon in the country and ongoing sowing operations of the Kharif crops including paddy.
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“Monsoon was delayed by a week. However, there will be a good rainfall after July 7 according to Met Department forecast. Impact of El-nino is also expected to be subdued than what was expected earlier,” Singh said. Stating that the situation does not look as bad as it was expected, the minister said: “Even if the situation gets bad due to below normal monsoon, we are fully prepared to tackle it.”
The country has received 45 per cent less rainfall in the first spell till June 17. Met department has fore casted monsoon to be below normal at 93 per cent of the long period average. Singh said the contingency plans have been prepared and advisories have been issued to states. Asked about financial package to deal with bad monsoon, Singh said: “We are consulting with various ministries on the issue and then will move a proposal to Cabinet”.
The minister informed that states have been asked to keep aside 10 per cent of funds available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for undertaking appropriate interventions to mitigate drought like situation, if any, arising out of deficient rainfall. Till last week, rice had been sown/transplanted in 7.59 lakh hectare, pulses in 2.60 lakh hectare, oilseeds in 1.23 lakh hectare and coarse cereals in 12.29 lakh hectare.
According to sources, the meeting also discussed extending the deadline for implementation of Food Security Act after July 4. The Act came into force on July 5, 2013. States have to identify the eligible beneficiaries within one year after the commencement of the Act. So far, only 11 states have implemented the law.