Annual monsoon arrives in drought-hit India

India is in the grip of its worst water crisis in years, with 330 million people suffering from drought

Afp June 08, 2016
India is in the grip of its worst water crisis in years, with 330 million people suffering from drought. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: Annual monsoon rains arrived in southern India on Wednesday, easing fears of millions of desperate farmers after two straight years of drought, the weather department said.

Farmers rely on the monsoon rains, which hit the Kerala coast every year and then sweep across the country, to water their crops and replenish dams and reservoirs.

But India is in the grip of its worst water crisis in years, with 330 million people, or a quarter of the population, suffering from drought after two weak rainy seasons.

"Southwest monsoon hit Kerala today," the Indian Meteorological Department tweeted, adding that conditions were right for the rains to advance across the rest of southern India.

The department had earlier forecast an above-average monsoon this year and a start date of June 7, offering hope for the struggling agricultural sector.

About 60 per cent of the workforce is employed in the sector, mainly as poor labourers. Farmers plant many of their crops from June with harvesting from October.

Sweltering heat causes roads to melt in India

The arrival of the monsoon is always keenly watched in India, but even more so this year as much of the country reels from the drought.

Drinking water is running short in many states and poor rains have prompted extreme measures, including stationing armed guards at reservoirs and sending water trains to the worst-affected regions.


abreez | 8 years ago | Reply Drought to cost economy Rs 6,50,000 crore May 11, 2016 NEW DELHI: Drought in 10 states is estimated to impact the economy by at least Rs 6,50,000 crore as about 33 crore people across 256 districts are facing the grave situation, a study has revealed. Due to two consecutive years of poor monsoon, water shortage in reservoirs as well as lowering of ground water table has created a serious challenge for the drought-affected areas in 10 states like Maharashtra and Karnataka, the study by Assocham said. "The rough estimate indicates that this drought will cost national economy at least Rs 6,50,000 crore or say $100 billion," it said. The impact of drought is likely to remain for at least six months more because one needs resources and time to revive the activities on ground even if monsoon is predicted to be normal this year, it said. "Let us assume, the government will spend just Rs 3,000 per person to cover water, food, health for these people for one or two month. With the population of 33 crore at risk, the estimated cost to economy will be about Rs 1,00,000 crore per month," the study said. The loss of subsidies on power, fertiliser and other inputs multiply the impact, it added. On economic impact of drought, the study said the financial resources get diverted from development to aid and the possible migration to other places puts pressure on urban infrastructure and supplies. There is likely an impact on children and women health besides farm debt increase due to loss in livestock and farm economy in the drought-hit districts, it said. The drought would create inflationary pressures making the food management an imperative challenge for the government and the policy makers, he added.
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