August rainfall may prove worse than India Meteorological Department’s ‘below normal’ monsoon forecast, as the pan-India deficit was recorded at 32 per cent until Monday, with the southern peninsula receiving 62 per cent less rains than normal during August 1-28.

Though there was some sporadic rainfall in many parts of the country during the past week, the deficit in the Central region, including the major soyabean and tur growing regions of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, has further widened, which could adversely affect crops in non-irrigated areas.

Rainfall in the Central region was 36 per cent lower than normal during August 1-21 and the deficit further increased to 42 per cent for the August 1-28 period, according to IMD data. However, the east and north-east region, which was deficient by 6 per cent until August 21, has reported 8 per cent above-normal in the August 1-28 period.

Among the four meteorological regions, the southern peninsula is the worst hit as it has received only 66.1 mm rainfall, which is only 38 per cent of the long period average (LPA) of 174.8 mm. While Karnataka has received the lowest — 25 per cent of LPA (deficit of 75 per cent), the precipitation in Kerala was 31 per cent of LPA, Telangana 38 per cent of LPA and Andhra Pradesh 53 per cent of LPA during August 1-28.

Though agriculture ministry officials are not ready to discuss the impact of rainfall deficit on crops, sources said that the situation in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka is a matter of concern, though not alarming. Sensing the ground situation, the Centre allowed enrollment of farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) until August 16 so that maximum inclusion takes place. The enrollment in Jammu and Kashmir is still continuing and will end on August 31.

In Karnataka, the insured area under crop insurance scheme in current kharif season has been 18.09 lakh hectares (lh), which is marginally lower from last season’s 18.94 lh, sources said. “With such high rainfall deficit, the area should have been more in Karnataka as the Centre had allowed enrollment until August 1, whereas cut off date is July 15 for all states. It seems farmers may not have sown the crops at some places,” an official source said.

The all India enrollment in current kharif season is higher at 7.51 crore applications against 6.98 crore year-ago, sources said.

The water level in 118 reservoirs where irrigation facilities available, was recorded at 86.662 billion cubic meters (BCM) as on August 24, which is 64 pert cent of their combined capacities of 134.42 BCM. The water level was 83 per cent of the capacities in the year-ago period.

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