New Delhi: After days of denial, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has admitted that the deficient monsoon could be leading up to one of India's worst droughts in recent years. Pawar was speaking after being briefed by his officials on the progress of rains.
Pawar said rainfall will be subdued over Punjab, Haryana and parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He said active monsoon condition is likely to continue over central India in next two days and monsoon is expected to intensify over Maharashtra and Gujarat in the next two days and that rainfall is likely to increase in eastern and North eastern India.
Accepting that monsoon has been inadequate in several parts of northern India, the UPA Government said on Friday that in case sowing failed due to lack of rains, it would make additional seeds available to the states.
"As of now seeds and fertilisers have been provided to state governments. However, in case sowing fails in areas where it had been completed, then we will provide 5 lakh tonnes of additional seeds, especially to farmers cultivating paddy, oilseeds and pulses - which are the worst hit," Sharad Pawar informed the Rajya Sabha.
He said that the Government will also stay prepared to supply diesel and electricity to farmers for irrigation.
Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, he said problems prevailed in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and western Uttar Pradesh, where monsoon has been inadequate, "but I feel that the situation will improve".