Agriculture minister to CMs: 'Review measures to handle possible monsoon failure'

| Updated: May 08, 2017 23:15 IST

New Delhi [India], May 8 (ANI): The Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh has written letters to all chief ministers to review all measures to handle situation possible monsoon failure before time. "Central Government permits States and UTs to earmark 25 percent of funds under centrally sponsored schemes as flexi-funds which, inter-alia, could be used for mitigation of natural calamities," said Singh. In addition he emphasised that 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. Singh urged all chief ministers to review the state of preparedness in managing weather related contingencies, if any, in advance so that the possible adverse impact of sub-par rainfall on farmers can be mitigated. Singh in his letter mentioned that the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected a likely rainfall of 96percent (+ 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. Singh further wrote, "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 expressed confidence that the administration would have made arrangements to operationalise their drought mitigation strategies, in the event of failure of the monsoon rainfall. Singh suggested carrying out a review to include state of preparedness in districts in line with the District Agricultural Contingency Plan. He further emphasised the importance of progress in the implementation of schemes under District Irrigation Plans of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. He also drew attention to the status of progress of water conservation/recharge/harvesting related works under MGNREGS and water-shed management. Singh highlighted the importance of establishment and activation of the Drought Management Centre at the state headquarters and arrangements for the monitoring of drought and progress in the restoration of irrigation infrastructure e.g, desiltaion of canals, repair/energization of tube-wells and replacement/repair of faulty pumps; repair of transformers/power lines, progress in the repair of hand pumps/drinking water projects. Singh hoped that all necessary and advance steps are being taken by state governments in the interest of farmers.(ANI)