Kharif sowing till June 20
almost 18 per cent less than last year; 328 districts under watch, based on
rains in the first 15 days
(BusinessStandard) The southwest monsoon has
covered almost half of India but pockets of worry remain. Of the 600-odd
districts, 328 were under watch, based on the rainfall in the first 15 days,
Rain was 45 per cent below
normal for the week ended June 18, showed data from India Meteorological
Department, the worst performance since 2009, when it was also 45 per cent
below normal for this period. In the four months of monsoon in 2009, India saw
almost 22 per cent deficiency in rain.
“As of now, there is no
cause for worry and as the rain progresses to cover almost all of India, more
and more districts will move to the normal list from the ‘watch’ list,”
senior official from the department of agriculture. He, however, warned the 328
districts could face difficulty if the monsoon took a break of over 15-20 days.
For, the initial rainfall in the first fortnight of June in these areas wasn’t
“The reason why we are not
yet terming the overall situation as worrisome is that barring rainfall, the
other two main indicators to declare an agriculture drought — surface moisture
index and vegetation spread index —have not worsened,” the official said.
The districts under watch
include 45 of 48 in Madhya Pradesh, 69 of 80 in Uttar Pradesh, all 25 in
Gujarat, 24 of 35 in Maharashtra, all 25 in Rajasthan and 14 of 27 in
Karnataka. The southwest monsoon arrived in India on June 6, five days behind
its normal date. It had covered almost 50 per cent of the country till
Thursday, late by four days.
The impact of the delayed
onset and progress was being felt on sowing. Till Friday, the area covered
under kharif crops was around 2.1 million hectares less than last year, the
worst impact being on coarse cereals and rice. Data from the department of
agriculture showed crops had been planted on 9.55 million hectares, down from
11.60 million hectares during the corresponding period last year.
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