Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said global warming would have an adverse impact on India's wheat bowl in four northern states and that the Prime Minister's Office was overseeing attempts to counter it.
"Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihar, which are our wheat bowls, will be adversely affected by global warming," Pawar said in the Lok Sabha during his reply to a special discussion on the drought situation and floods in several states.
The agriculture minister said the government was serious about countering the phenomenon and a special section had been created for the purpose while a group of experts in the Prime Minister's Office were directly overseeing this work.
He said scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had changed their approach to developing new better "weather resistant" varieties of wheat, to be able to reduce the impact of global warming.
The minister announced that "our scientists have already developed eight to nine new varieties of wheat" with better resistance.
Meanwhile, Pawar exhorted the states to accord top priority to water conservation and said India could become a "seriously water starved area" if joint efforts were not made by the central and state governments to save water.
He said: "India has 4.2 per cent of the world's water, 2.3 per cent of the world's land and 17 per cent of the world's population."
The country had to address the needs of 17 per cent of the world's population with 4.2 per cent water, he added
Pawar said the central government's major focus was on preserving water and this was why weightage was being given to taking up conservation projects even under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme.