Contingency plan in place to counter weak monsoon: Minister

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kundaria on Friday said the government had developed a contingency plan to sustain agricultural production in the eventuality of a weak monsoon or deficient rains.

“The government has developed an agriculture contingency plan through the Central Research Institute of Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) to sustain agriculture production in the eventuality of a weak monsoon or deficient rainfall,” Kundaria said while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

“The plan has been set up in collaboration with state agricultural universities in 600 districts for implementing location specific interventions,” the minister added.

“Moreover, the states have also been advised to ensure availability of appropriate low water consumption seeds and ensure meeting any contingency cropping requirement in the eventuality of a deficient rainfall,” he said.

As a measure to counter a potential drought like situation, he said, “10 percent of funds available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) have also been kept aside for undertaking appropriate interventions to mitigate drought-like situation, if any, arising out of deficient rainfall”.

Construction of water harvesting structure under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), promotion of agronomic practices for moisture conservation, promoting cultivation of less water consuming crops, restoration of irrigation infrastructure by de-silting canals; energising tube wells, replacing or repairing faulty pumps etc. are also being initiated by the states to deal with any such potential situation, he said.

“As per received reports, the area sown up to July 31 is 764.28 lakh hectare compared to 703.43 lakh hectare up to corresponding period in 2014 and corresponding normal area of 781.60 lakh hectare. Sowing of crops is in progress in various parts of the country,” Kundaria said while replying to the query regarding the progress of sowing crops in the country.

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