The just-ended monsoon season brought the lowest rainfall in 27 years, but a heavy downpour that came during its retreat has killed at least 61 people over the past several days, officials said.
The latest update from Indian Meteorological Department said the country received 23 per cent less from the rainfall it normally gets during the monsoon season that runs from June through September. The last time India recorded such a bad monsoon was in 1972.
The deficiency in rainfall has resulted in a drought in many parts of the country. This sowing season, area under rice crop, which needs lots of water to grow, has fallen 6 million hectares from last year, said Agriculture Commissioner N.B.Singh. Groundnut planting has also seen a sharp fall, Singh said.
The drought undermines recovery of the Indian economy from a global downturn, as it would reduce incomes of those dependent on agriculture and dent demand for industrial goods. The livelihood of nearly 600 million people in this country 1.1 billion people is tied to agriculture, which accounts for a fifth of India’s national income.
The monsoon has not only been deficient but erratic. It gathered much momentum in recent weeks and has since cause heavy rainfall at many places across the country.
While the late revival was of little use to distressed farmers, the downpour has wreaked havoc in some parts of the country.
At least 46 people have been killed in Karnataka and 15 in Andhra Pradesh, as incessant rains inundated several villages, damaged crops and disrupted communication and transport links.
(With inputs from IANS)