Centre asks states to prepare for inadequate rainfall

New Delhi Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Monday asked all state governments to take measures to mitigate the situation arising out of any monsoon failure.

According to a statement, Singh, in his letter to all Chief Ministers, said in spite of the 2016 being satisfactory year for the agriculture sector, in some states aberrant weather created drought-like condition.

“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,” he said in the statement.

Suggesting that the states base their plan on the District Agricultural Contingency Plans, Singh asked the states to evaluate the progress in the water conservation and restoration of irrigation infrastructure.

He also asked the states to set up a Drought Management Centre at the state headquarter for the monitoring and management of drought.

The central government has permitted states and Union Territories (UTs) to earmark 25 per cent of funds under centrally sponsored schemes as flexi-funds which could be used for contingency plans, he added.

Radha Mohan Singh has also asked the governments to expand the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which will minimise farmers` losses in case of crop failure.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted average rainfall for this year`s kharif crop.

An updated forecast will be issued by the IMD in June with details of monthly and regional distribution of monsoon rainfall.