The government has announced it will offer subsidy on diesel, power and seeds to farmers in case of deficient monsoon affecting crops.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Friday held a meeting with senior officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD), which earlier in the week had revised monsoon forecast to “deficient”, triggering drought fears.
Officials from power, water resource, rural development, food and fertiliser ministries, among others, were also present in the meeting.
“We will offer subsidy on diesel, power and seeds to farmers like last year to deal with drought-like-situation,” Mr Singh said after the meeting.
The minister said the government is fully prepared to face drought-like situation. A nodal officer has been appointed in every departments to deal with deficient monsoon situation. According to sources, the Centre may continue Rs 10 per litre diesel subsidy this year as well.
The subsidy on seeds could be up to 50 per cent under different schemes, they added. Similarly, free power could be given to farmers for irrigation.
Earlier this week, Mr Singh had said that the Centre is ready with contingency plans for 580 districts and is in touch with States and farm research bodies to tackle the situation.
A new crop insurance policy will be brought in this year to protect farmers’ income. The Centre will import pulses to improve domestic supplies and check rising pulses prices.
On June 2, the Met Department revised its forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent Long Period Average (LPA), with north-west region of the country expected to be hit the most.
Last year, the country had received 12 per cent less rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds.
Growth of agriculture and allied sectors stood at mere 0.2 per cent in fiscal year 2014-15.
Food grain production declined to 251.12 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes in the previous year.