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Addressing the Drought Situation

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January 23, 2019

What is the issue?

  • With low rainfall this season, the country is most likely to witness a drought situation this year.
  • Tackling drought must be the immediate priority for administrators across the country.

What is the rain deficit scenario?

  • The actual deficit last monsoon was modest, barely 10%.
  • But the post-monsoon rainfall (October to December, 2018) or PMR has registered a 44% deficit.
  • This national average deficit conceals shortages in some regions where it is much higher.
  • E.g. In Marathwada, the deficit is 84%, and in Vidarbha, 88%.

Why is it so significant this time?

  • The next nearest rains are six months away, and there is no guarantee that June will see the onset of a normal monsoon.
  • This low-rain and no-rain situation is going to aggravate the water crisis.
  • By April-May, this drought could be tormenting millions in several States, including the urban India.
  • Years of policy-driven, corporate-driven water transfers from rural to urban, agriculture to industry, poor to rich and so on have made the country-side chronically water-scarce.
  • But the failure of rains this time is so serious that ‘drought’ now means not just a farm crisis but a national crisis.
  • This is more likely to affect towns and cities no less than villages.
  • In urban regions, the piped water supply could falter and water cans could cost even more than they do today.

What does it call for?

  • There is massive waterlessness that has hit the country already.
  • It calls for addressing and being prepared for a drought situation, beyond the popular agrarian distress and farm-loan waivers debate.
  • There is a crucial need to address the water-starved, food-short, livelihood-broken, rural India’s agrarian distress.
  • The policy makers should thus make drought relief, water-use, food security and massive earth-related programmes an absolute priority.

 

Source: The Hindu

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