Hours after the Met Department declared “below normal” monsoon, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh swung into action to counter panic over it and announced steps being considered by his ministry to minimise the impacts of less rainfall.
In a statement issued after the Met announcement, Singh declared that the government was open towards “introduction of diesel subsidy scheme for providing protective irrigation to standing crops in rainfall deficit areas” and was considering “rescheduling of crops loans and providing interest subvention on rescheduled loans in drought affected areas” to shield farmers against deficient monsoon.
“We are fully geared up to face any drought situation. We are alert and seriously working on measures to meet any eventualities arising out of drought or deficit rainfall situation,” Singh said, adding, “we will soon move a Cabinet note seeking approval for introduction of a diesel subsidy scheme for providing protective irrigation to standing crops in rainfall deficit areas”.
Singh highlighted precautionary measures already set in motion by the government. While underlining that the country had more than sufficient food stocks to overcome challenges in form of any shortfall in foodgrain production, he said that crop contingency plans have been prepared for 500 out of 540 agricultural districts to guide farmers to tackle deficient monsoon.
“Against a buffer norm of about 100 lakh tonnes of rice and 170 lakh tonnes of wheat, total central pool stock as on 1.6.2014 was 206.45 lakh tonnes of rice and 415.86 lakh tonnes of wheat,” the statement highlighted.