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An agricultural drought has very specific effects on
crops and regions, and the rainfall pattern on more important welfare effects
like drinking water and employment
Is India a
‘monsoon economy’? Not true any longer. Until the mid-1970s, in half the year’s
growth was negative and in the other half the economy grew between 3 percent
and 6 percent, giving us the average Hindu growth rate. But since then, we had
only two years with a growth of less than 3 percent. It has been argued by
Arvind Panagriya that volatility is higher now. Even that is not the complete
picture. If you compare the Sixties of the last century with the post mid
seventies period volatility is less now.
A meteorological and an agricultural drought are, to an extent, two
different issues. An agricultural drought has very specific effects on crops
and regions, and the rainfall pattern on more important welfare effects like
drinking water and employment. Human welfare is very important and tracking the
events and ameliorating policies in a time-bound manner are essential.
Many weather risk management strategies fit squarely into sustainable
agriculture practices and can, therefore, be promoted with several of the programmes
and policies targeting environmentally responsible production. Strategies which
have paid are:
·Shift of the focus
from growing water intensive crops in the rainfed areas of the country to the
water abundant regions of North East India which have the potential of becoming
the food bowl of the country. The successful eastern region plan of the
Ministry of agriculture is an example.
cropping patterns and cropping systems, like multiple/mixed cropping,
intercropping systems with legume components etc, to suit the local resource
and weather conditions.
ecological farming practices which can maximize the local resource use. We need
to ensure increased production of crops with efficient combination of inputs
and the least possible wastage of environmental resources. Many of these
practices are basedon indigenous knowledge and focus on building soil
adopt crop varieties especially in saline and flood prone areas, drought prone
areas, making suitable selections adopting Participatory Plant Breeding and
Participatory Varietal Selection. Agricultural practices and climate
synchronization will help to deal with environmental distortions characterized
by the Indian agriculture. Bio Technology Plans in a PPP modewith modern
‘Chipping technologies for selective breeding’ are needed which would
drastically reduce the time period for evolution of drought resistant
land and water are shrinking resources, and climate change is a real threat,
there is an urgency to spread conservation and climate-resilient farming. A
conservation-cultivation-consumption-commerce chain should be promoted in every
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) so as to reap maximumbenefit out of it as
the Approach paper says
2.Water management and pricing:
It is a well known fact that the geographical area of the
country or the extensive land frontier for exploitation has reached its limits.
In Punjab, and Western UP, so well endowed groundwater level is also falling. A
very dramatic effort will thus be needed to harvest and carefully use the
available water so that the dependence on Monsoon can be reduced.
technology in irrigation including computer controlled operatingsystems
the existing vast canal system in the country
standardization in micro / drip and other irrigationequipment
low water using agronomic practices such as Direct Sown Rice (DSR), System of
Rice intensification (SRI),Laser Leveling etc
harvesting and recharging of aquifers on asustainable basis
of power and water and accounting transparently and fairly for that in the MSP
and tariff protection calculations, with provision of subsidyto small and
marginal farmers. Any ways the farmers are paying for diesel.
Nationwide Mission on Sprinkler and Micro irrigation along with a Nation wide
programme on irrigation infrastructure
Modern technology for weather forecastingand data collection:
We need an estimate of the total quantum of rainfall in
the whole country during the four-month monsoon season (June-September) but
also its distribution in terms of space and time.
these objectives I had presented a six-point programme for using satellite data
to supplement traditional sources of agricultural and rural statistics and
information in an ISRO ISAE Seminar.
data on Land Use Statistics (LUS) since
the traditional Crop and Season Reports are generally available with a time lag
of three to fiveyears.
data should be used for checking estimates of errors of crop area and yield
While at the national level Timely Reporting System (TRS) and National Sample
Survey Organization (NSSO)sample checks gave low errors on production, at the
state level, area and yield errors could be between 5 percent and 12 percent.
Space data would be another check and would give timely results.
of Geographic mapping systems to be increased. It should be used not only for public
sector projects as earlier in. watersheds, etc., butalso for cooperative, NGO
and private sector projects.
information systems should be developed with the help of space facilities. The farmers should not only be the source of
data but should also be the recipient of technology and agro-economic data heneeds for agriculture in a liberalizing economy. This is important for markets,
technology access and medium term weather forecasts.
resource management is a
must as water is and will be a scarce resource so recharging water bodies,disaster management should be looked into.
up of a small Nucleus Institute,
Centre with experts on deputation from ISRO, Central Statistical Organization
(CSO), NSSO, MOA, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) NABARD, Consultingorganizations, COOPS) to build up new systems of man and machine working together
for a restructured agricultural information system. This would ultimately
involve the private sector as well.