Monsoon 15% deficient, govt lowers growth outlook to 6%
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With the Met Department today formally announcing that the monsoon will be deficient by 15 per cent, the government has lowered the growth outlook to 6 per cent.
"If we factor in agriculture, which would not be strong... (growth) would be closer to 6 per cent. I don't think we have sufficiently strong industrial turnaround yet," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
The met department said rains had been 85 per cent of normal during June-September. "We expect monsoon to be 15 per cent deficient than the long period average," IMD chief L S Rathore said.
The impact is showing in kharif sowing, which at 79 lakh hectares is about 46 lakh hectares below normal. Paddy sowing is about 25 lakh hectares less than last year, coarse cereals are behind by over 26 lakh hectares, pulses are down by about 15 lakh hectares.
September rainfall too is predicted to be deficient, and the rabi crop may be hit. "In August, we are hoping for a better rainfall scenario. But there will be some problem in the terminal part of the monsoon," Rathore said.
An Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has announced contingency measures in four major states — Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Apart from diesel subsidy for farmers and enhanced subsidy on seeds of alternative crops, about Rs 1,900 crore has been sanctioned for drinking water needs and for watershed development.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the number of days under NREGA would be increased to 150 per year per household in drought-hit districts. Pawar and he returned today from a visit to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Gujarat has sought a package to the tune of Rs 14,000 crore, Karnataka has demanded Rs 11,000 crore and Maharashtra Rs 10,000 crore.
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