As per India Meteorological Department`s (IMD) second stage operational long range forecast, South-West Monsoon (June-September) rainfall during 2014 is likely to be 93% ± 4% of country`s Long Period Average (LPA) of 890 mm. Government has taken several measures to address any situation arising due to deficiency in monsoon rainfall. Central Research Institute of Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities has prepared contingency plans for 500 districts for implementing location specific interventions to sustain agriculture production in the eventuality of weak monsoon/deficient rainfall. States have been advised to ensure availability of short duration and drought tolerant varieties of seeds so as to be in a position to supply them to farmers in case such a need arises. States have also been advised to keep asides 10% of funds available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and other schemes for undertaking appropriate interventions to mitigate any situation arising out of deficient rainfall.
States have also been requested to construct water harvesting structures, restore irrigation infrastructure by desilting canals; energising tubewells, replacing/repairing faulty pumps and arranging power to meet irrigation needs. Field functionaries and extension workers under Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) and other schemes are educating, training and making the farmers aware of various techniques to overcome deficient rainfall. Farmers are also being advised through farmers` SMS portal, Kisan Call Centres, Kisanvani Programme of All India Radio (AIR) and Krishi Darshan Programme of Doordarshan etc. Farmers have been advised to adopt techniques such as in-situ moisture conservation, on farm water conservation, ridge furrow sowing, promoting suitable agronomic practices including mulching, inter cropping, mixed cropping, sowing of less water consuming crops etc.
Delay in onset of monsoon and its slow progress has caused delay in sowing of paddy, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals during Kharif-2014. However, the sowing window is available till early August and sowing coverage is expected to improve with further progress of monsoon. This information was given today by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply to Rajya Sabha questions