Deficient rains cause for serious concern: Pawar

Voicing concern over deficient monsoon rains, union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar yesterday said the country might be faced with a "serious" situation if it did not rain in the next two months.

He said everything depended on the return of rains in August and September, however if it did not, the situation would become serious.

The agriculture sector, contributing around 15 per cent to the country's GDP, is critically dependent on the monsoons. Only between 40 and 55 per cent of India's total cultivable area is under irrigation.

The worst-hit regions are Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and West Rajasthan, this year with monsoon deficiency ranging upto 75 per cent in Saurashtra and Kutch, the weather office data had said.

After the onset of monsoons, the country had seen 22 per cent deficient rainfall than predicted with northwest region being the worst hit with a deficiency of 42 per cent, while in Central India, rains had been 23 per cent deficient. The southern peninsula had received 22 per cent lower rains than the long-term average.

The 84 major reservoirs in the country that were being monitored by the Central Water Commission had now started filling but the current year's storage was still 61 per cent of last year's.