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Drought threat over 251 districts as a 'normal' monsoon comes to a close: Report

The southwest monsoon accounts for 70 per cent of India's annual rainfall and is crucial for the agricultural sector of the economy. The primary sector has been valued at Rs 18 lakh crore or 11 per cent of India's GDP in 2016.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: September 28, 2018  | 20:37 IST
Drought threat over 251 districts as a 'normal' monsoon comes to a close: Report

A total of 251 districts in India are looking at drought-like conditions with ongoing southwest monsoon set to officially depart by the end of this week, according to a report by IndiaSpend. Analysis of rainfall data this year shows that districts in east, northeast and south states are likely to face drought due to deficient rainfall.

The southwest monsoon accounts for 70 per cent of India's annual rainfall and is crucial for the nation's agricultural sector, according to the IndiaSpend report. The primary sector of Indian economy has been valued at Rs 18 lakh crore or 11 per cent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

As per Indian Meteorological Department parameters, a deficient monsoon year is when the cumulative rainfall across the country has a deficit of 10 per cent or more in comparison to the long term average of 870mm. The IMD classifies monsoon rainfall as "deficient" at a state or a district level if it receives 20-59 per cent less rainfall than the long-term average.

With three days left till ongoing southwest monsoon officially departs on September 30, 2018, this year is borderline "normal" monsoon year. With 793mm of cumulative rainfall, this monsoon season has been 9 per cent less than the long term average according to the recent weekly analysis of the IMD published on September 26, the IndiaSpend report said. If the nationwide rainfall falls by 1 per cent during the remaining three days of the southwest monsoon, this year might become the sixth monsoon drought of the century after 2002, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2015.

Rainfall in 251 districts across India remained deficient to "large deficient" till September 26. As per IndiaSpend analysis, half the districts in 11 states and union territories including Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Bihar and Gujarat experienced deficient to large deficient rainfall.

Eight states and union territories have received deficient rainfall, that is, 20-59 percent less than long-term average, the report said while on the basis of IMD data. Manipur (-58 per cent), Lakshadweep (-48 per cent), Meghalaya (-40 per cent) and Arunachal Pradesh (-31 per cent) recorded the lowest rainfall till September 26. Every second state experiencing deficient rainfall is from the northeast.

Gujarat (-27 per cent), Jharkhand (-26 per cent), Bihar (-23 per cent) and Tripura (-21 per cent) were the other states which received deficient rainfall. Assam, West Bengal and Pondicherry experienced a deficit of 19 per cent in rainfall this year and if the rainfall in these states drops by 1 per cent more over the remaining days of September, they could also fall into the deficient category. Most of the districts so affected were in Gujarat (22), Bihar (27), Tamil Nadu (20), Jharkhand (17) and Karnataka (17), according to IndiaSpend analysis.

But some of these states also had experienced contradictory weather conditions. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka received normal rainfall, as did Andhra Pradesh, where six of 13 districts, about 46 per cent, recorded deficient rainfall. All three states also experienced widespread floods in August 2018. Similarly, about 52 per cent and 40 per cent districts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh received deficient to "large deficient" rainfall but the cumulative rainfall over both the states remained normal.

Edited by Vivek Punj

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