Monsoon Updates

[op-ed snap] Chasing the monsoon: Agriculture


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the IMD, El Nino, La Nino, etc.

Mains level: What should be done by the Indian Government to increase the benefit of good monsoon?


Good news from the India Meteorological Department(IMD)

  1.  For farmers, the IMD’s estimate that rainfall during the summer, between June and September, will be 97% of the 50-year average of 89 cm, is bound to raise fresh expectations
  2. The forecast of a normal monsoon has brought relief all around
  3. The IMD’s decision to provide a more fine-grained forecast on the monsoon’s progress, particularly in the central and northern regions, will meet a long-felt need and can potentially guide farmers better

High crop output

  1. The normal monsoon is the third year in a row and farmers can look forward to a high output for a variety of crops
  2. What is well known is that a good monsoon raises agriculture’s contribution to GDP growth, while a drought year depresses it

Some positive steps taken by the government

  1. he Centre has been supportive of higher returns through the Minimum Support Price mechanism and additional bonuses have been announced by States such as Madhya Pradesh for procurement

What should be done by the government?

  1. Now that another year of good cropping is expected, and unremunerative prices will depress public sentiment,
  2. it is vital for the Centre to arrive at a policy that gives constructive advice to farmers on the ideal cropping mix and help them get the cost-plus-50% margin that it has promised them
  3. The long-term challenge is to make the most of the rainfall that India gets, ranging from a few hundred millimetres or less in the northwest to more than a few thousand millimetres elsewhere
  4. The Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water drawn up by the Centre should be pursued scientifically, to help States with the most water-stressed blocks get adequate funds to build artificial recharge structures
  5. Moreover, for those farmers who choose to continue with wheat and rice, transfer of expertise and provision of equipment that enables efficient utilisation of water is vital

One of the main reasons of water stress in India

  1. An estimate of water used to grow rice and wheat, measured in cubic metres per tonne, shows that India uses more than what, say, China does
  2. In the case of cotton, the figures present an even more staggering contrast: 8,264 cubic metres for India, against 1,419 for China
  3. Combined with distortions in procurement subsidies, water stress due to such use is inevitable

The way forward

  1. Clearly, governments need to invest consistently to harvest the monsoon, both on the surface and underground, with community participation


India Meteorological Department

  1. The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India
  2. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.Regional office are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune.
  3. IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization. It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf
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