South West monsoons have been erratic and untimely with many regions not receiving adequate rainfall while others being flooded. The situation is particularly grim in Maharashtra and Karnataka. While acreage has gone up in 2015 compared to 2014, saving standing crop is a challenge.
It is a difficult year for the Indian farmers, with both floods and drought like situation in many parts of the country, even as the rainfall has been both erratic and untimely.
Recognising the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, "Agriculture Ministry will be renamed as 'krishi And Kisaan Vikaas Mantralaya'. We need to increase agricultural productivity. Save water, save energy, save fertilizer should be our motto," adding that the government had earmarked Rs 50,000 crore for irrigation schemes.
However, for farmers who are already in distress, the announcement could bring little relief, keeping into consideration the situation on the ground.
The deficit is worrying as the South West monsoon accounts for 80% of total rainfall. The Khairf crop accounts of 90% of padddy, 70% of coarse cereals and oil seeds production. And the impact of drought is most severely felt in Maharashtra and Karnataka, from where farmer suicides are already being reported.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has already approved subsidy on Diesel with an allocation of a Rs 100 crore. Another Rs 150 core have been allocated for mitigating the effects of drought on horticulture crops. Rs 50 crore have been allocated for ensuring the availability of fodder. The challenge is that this subsidy worth Rs 300 crore should reach the farmers battling distress on time.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), monsoon has been 10% deficient so far and there are many unfavourable factors, including El Nino.
The IMD in its latest forecast said that the second week of August has recorded 31% below normal rainfall across the country, which is not a good sign for the standing crop.