Despite a normal monsoon so far, sowing worries persist

  • IASbaba
  • August 8, 2021
  • 0
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  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Despite a normal monsoon so far, sowing worries persist

Context: Two out of the four months (June-September) of India’s official monsoon season are now over.

  • However, progress of sowing for India’s winter crop or Kharif season is still short of normal sown area at this point of time.

Some of the issues which determines the agricultural season of this year are:

  1. A revival in July rainfall after June’s dry patch 
  • The first 62 days of this year’s monsoon season can be divided into three phases —
    • a bumper rainfall in the first 20 days,
    • a dry patch between June 21 to July 11
    • a recovery in the period thereafter.
  • Monsoon performance is measured by comparing current period’s rainfall with what is called the Long Period Average (LPA). The current LPA mark is the average rainfall between 1961 and 2010
  • July revival has brought cumulative rainfall above LPA
  1. Excess rain in peninsula, normal/deficient rain elsewhere
  • All regions in the country have not had adequate rains this year.
  • A state-wise analysis of the rainfall data shows that cumulative rainfall in 14 states and union territories is lower than the LPA figure so far. Among the major states, Gujarat, Kerala and Assam feature on this list.
  • Seven states have had excess rainfall (20% above the LPA figure) so far. This list includes Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu
  • Also, there are significant differences in rainfall even within states.
    • Of the 614 districts, the number of districts with excess rainfall has increased from 162 on July 15 to 205 on August 1, while those with normal rainfall has increased from 229 to 269.
    • The number of districts with deficient rainfall has decreased from 223 to 140.
  1. Storage of Water in reservoirs
  • The live storage status of 130 main reservoirs in the country is monitored by the Central Water Commission.
  • These reservoirs had 85.36 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water available as on July 29, higher than both the 70.77 BCM available at this time last year. This is a testimony to the revival in monsoon.
  • However, the storage in several Northeastern, northern, eastern, and central states is less than the average of the last 10 years.
  • It is in the southern, states, which have received abundant rainfall, where current storage is exceeding the historical average significantly.
  1. Despite monsoon revival, kharif sowing continues to lag 
  • As of July 30, 79.04% of the area normally sown during the kharif season was covered (less than the 83.45% area covered by this time last year)
  • Progress of sowing is slower than last year for all major crops except sugarcane and arhar.

Analysis: How does Sowing impact the economy?

  • Crucial three weeks: The Kharif sowing should get completed by mid-August, so the rainfall in the first half of August becomes crucial, which determines the agricultural output of the season.
  • Economic Revival dependent on agriculture: Sowing numbers are important because India is banking a lot on Kharif crop to provide support to GDP. It was the rural sector which was the saviour in the aftermath of first wave of COVID-19 Pandemic. Whether it will play the same role this year depends on rainfall & sowing.
  • Aggregate Demand: Sowing also determined the rural income that will be available for spending during the festival season as part of the rural demand.
  • Regional Inequality: Presence of adequate quantity of waters in reservoirs of South would mean less disruption to the agricultural activities in Southern region. This may lead to region differentiation of farm incomes between North & South thus perpetuating the existing regional divide.

Connecting the dots:

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