Agri ministry prepares for sub-normal monsoon

Agri ministry prepares for sub-normal monsoon

Agri ministry prepares for sub-normal monsoon

As President Pranab Mukherjee flagged up concerns of a sub-normal monsoon, the Agriculture Ministry on Monday unveiled a series of contingency steps, including subsidised diesel, cheaper loans and extra seeds for farmers. 

“We are prepared to deal with poor rainfall and have already started working with state governments, especially Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told reporters here.

Weather scientists have forecast a below normal monsoon and have not ruled out drought in some pockets of the country. This could be potentially damaging for the agriculture sector, which still relies heavily on monsoon for a good crop.

“We have six proposals to help farmers in drought-affected areas. 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 said.

 The other Cabinet proposals include rescheduling of crop loans and providing interest subvention in drought-hit areas. It proposes to raise the subsidy ceiling to buy seeds, including drought-tolerant varieties, and partially compensate farmers for re-sowing, he said.

Singh said state governments have been advised to consult the National Crisis Management Plan on drought while managing any probable rainfall-deficit situation.

“Contingency plans are already in place, states have been suitably advised, sufficient foodstocks are in place and quick action will be taken to tackle any situation arising out of deficient monsoon,” he said.