The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is keeping a close watch on the delayed monsoon and its possible impact on agriculture, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan said on Friday, asserting that there were enough foodgrain to handle any unforeseen situation that might arise.
"We all know that there is a shortfall of monsoon in north-west India. The PMO is closely monitoring the situation. The cabinet secretary and secretary to the PM are keeping a tab on the developments," Chavan told reporters on the sideline of an event here.
"There is no need to panic. The average rainfall is calculated on the basis of rain over four months - from June 1 to September last. Yes, it's fact that the northwest has received around 50 per cent less rainfall in June," said Chavan, who is also the minister for earth sciences.
"The July rainfall is going normal but what we want to see is if it can fulfill the shortage of June. In fact IMD (India Meteorological Department) had predicted 83 per cent rainfall in northwest India (17 per cent less than average)," he said, adding that generally India gets 890 mm of rain, of which "19 per cent is experienced in June".
When asked about the drought like situation in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and some other states, he said: "The food pockets generally depend on irrigation and not entirely on the monsoon."
In case any problem arose, he said: "There is a very strong storage of foodgrain".
Admitting that the delayed monsoon was a "real and serious problem" in north India, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday hoped the situation "will definitely improve".
"It is true that the whole country is worried about monsoon recession as on today, particularly Vidarbha," Pawar said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
"As compared to last week, as per reports which we are getting, there is improvement in certain areas," he said, adding: "The real and serious problem is essentially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, western UP, part of Bihar and Himachal Pradesh.
"In these areas, there is more serious problem. Problem is serious throughout India, particularly in these regions it is more serious," the minister said.
According to the latest IMD estimates, the cumulative seasonal rainfall during this year's monsoon has so far been 43 per cent below the long-term average.
Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, rainfall was excess or normal in seven and deficient or scanty in 29 meteorological sub-divisions.