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6 rain-deficit states seek Rs 43,461 cr relief

August 21, 2012 16:13 IST

Six states including, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, which have been badly affected by rainfall deficiency, sought a total assistance of Rs 43,461.73 crore from the Centre to tide over the crisis.

Karnataka, Haryana and Punjab are the other states that have sought Central assistance for drought mitigation across various sectors including feed and fodder, Minister of State for Agriculture Charan Das Mahant said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Punjab and Haryana are known as "food grain bowl" of the country.

The minister said production of fodder has dipped due to severe drought conditions in various parts of the country affecting the livestock population.

"Preliminary reports indicate a decline in area under cultivation of coarse cereals to the extent of 4.03 million hectare which is likely to have an adverse impact on availability of feed and fodder," Mahant added.

He said there is no proposal under consideration of the Centre to provide fodder security to the livestock population on the lines of the food security for human beings. This is because Central and centrally-sponsored schemes are available for development of feed and fodder.

According to Indian Meteorological Department, the overall rain deficit for the country as a whole stood at 15 per cent so far.

Rainfall deficiency has resulted in shrinking of sowing areas under major crops by over 5 million hectares in the kharif season as on August 8.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the government has announced 50 per cent subsidy on diesel to protect standing crops of the farmers.

In reply to an another question, Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said the government has released 37 drought resistant varieties of different crops to combat drought like situation in the country.

National Agricultural Research System released 7 drought-resistance varieties of paddy, 3 of wheat, maize (2), small millet (3), sorghum (1) and groundnut (4) among others, he said.

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