New Delhi, May 9: The Centre has asked State Chief Ministers to review all the measures before time to handle the situation arising out of any monsoon failure. India Meteorological Department has projected normal southwest monsoon in its first stage forecast for this year. An updated forecast will be issued next month.
An official release said, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has written a letter to all Chief Ministers of the states and union territories to review their preparedness to handle any weather-related contingency. The States have also been told to monitor the progress made in the restoration of irrigation infrastructure like desiltation of canals, repair of tube-wells transformers and power lines.
Singh in his letter mentioned that India Meteorological Department (IMD) projected a likely rainfall of 96% (+ 5%) of the Long Period Average during Kharif 2017 in its first stage forecast for the South-West Monsoon. An updated forecast will be issued by IMD in June, 2017 with details of temporal (monthly) and regional distribution of monsoon rainfall.
He further written that 2016-17 was a very satisfactory year for the agriculture sector as a whole. The State Governments and farmers were able to take the best advantage of a normal monsoon to create record-breaking performance in the production of cereals, pulses and oilseeds.
Yet, the normal rainfall notwithstanding, agricultural operations faced disruption in some States during 2016-17 on account of drought caused by aberrant weather conditions. It would, therefore, be helpful if a review of the state of preparedness in managing any weather related contingency is carried out in advance so that the possible adverse impact of sub-par rainfall, if at all, on the farmers can be mitigated.
Singh also reminded the Chief Ministers that Prime Minister had discussed drought itigation/management measures in meetings with Chief Ministers of States affected by drought during 2015-16. Shri Singh expressed his confidence that the administration would have made arrangements to operationalise their drought mitigation strategies, in the event of failure of the monsoon rainfall.
Union Agriculture Minister further informed that the Central Government has permitted States and UTs to earmark 25% of funds under centrally sponsored schemes as flexi-funds which, inter-alia, could be used for mitigation of natural calamities. In addition, expanding the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana will enable farmers to minimise risks associated with loss of production in the event of a disaster.