Droughts: In context of India
- Drought is deficiency of rainfall
- A prolonged period of relatively dry weather leading to drought is a widely recognized climate anomaly
- Quoted as anomaly, it is not the norm. That means, in deserts which usually are dry, we won’t encounter something called as “drought”. Thus it demands more scientific definition.
- Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) used to define a “drought” year for an area as
- Meteorological Drought – 90% shortfall of average monsoon rainfall
- Agricultural Drought – Shortfall affects more than 20% of a state area
- Hydrological Drought – A marked depletion of surface waters causing a very low stream flow and drying of reservoirs
- Though IMD has maintained that declaration of drought was never in their maintained
- Recently, they have officially removed the word “Drought” from their lexicon.
Who declares it?
- Declaration is mainly a state government prerogative.
- During the year 2014-15, due to deficient monsoon, Governments of Haryana declared drought in 21 districts, Uttar Pradesh in 44 districts, Karnataka in 9 districts, Maharashtra in 26 districts and Andhra Pradesh in 7 districts of the State.
What are new definitions by IMD?
- Deficient year – Rainfall less than 90% of normal spread over 20-40% of country area
- Large Deficient Year – Rainfall less than 60% of normal over 20-40% of country area
- They will be using these while predictions and confirmation later on
What happens after an area is declared drought hit?
- District administration has to spring into action, to provide drinking water supply to population as well as livestock. Other complementary measures may be
- Allocation of additional work under MGNREGA. This is new innovation.
- Diesel subsidy
- Seed subsidy for buying drought resistant varieties
- Intervention for perennial horticulture crops
- Additional fodder provision
- Crop Contingency Plan has been prepared by Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) for 600 districts
- SDRF and NDRF funds are utilized according to prescribed rules
Long Term Measures
- In 1977-78, Desert Development Area Programme (DDAP) was launched. Similarly, in 1989, Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP) was launched under the aegis of National Wasteland Development Board for development of wastelands on watershed basis.